Barry Popkin

PhD, WR Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, UNC-Chapel Hill, Cancer Prevention and Control

WR Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Prevention and Control

Area of interest

Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, at UNC-CH. He has a PhD in economics and established the Division of Nutrition Epidemiology at UNC. He established and run the UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center, funded by NIH. He has developed the concept of the Nutrition Transition, the study of the dynamic shifts in dietary intake and physical activity patterns and trends and obesity and other nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases and his research program focuses globally on understanding the shifts in stages of the transition and programs and policies to improve the population health linked with this transition(see His research is primarily funded by a large number of NIH R01’s. In this US this involves long-term research on the economic and physical environment with CARDIA and the UNC Food Research Program which is evaluating the impact of global food company changes in product formulation as it impacts the diets of Americans.

In the area of cancer, Popkin served on the WCRF International/AICR report Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention report and was part of the panel handling the nutrition and cancer report. He has had a number of NCI R01’s and continues to collaborate with scholars from NCI’s cancer prevention division.

His international research is equally large-scale. Popkin directs longitudinal surveys in China and Russia and is also involved in survey research in other countries, including Brazil, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, India, Norway and the Philippines. He is actively involved at the national and global level in policy formulation for many countries, particularly Mexico and China. He has played a central role in placing the concerns of global obesity, its determinants and consequences on the global stage and is now actively involved in work on the program and policy side at the national level. He has been an active consultant to an array of international agencies over his career (including the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, and USAID). He has received a number of major awards for his global contributions (India: Gopalan Award; UK Rank Science Prize; US Kellogg Prize for Outstanding International Nutrition Research; The Obesity Society Mickey Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award). He has published over 380 refereed journal articles, is one of the most cited nutrition scholars in the world, and is the author of a new book entitled the WORLD IS FAT(January 2009, Avery-Penguin Publishers), translated into 9 languages.


Awards and Honors

The Gopalan Oration Award (2011)winner of the top nutrition prize from India and the Mickey Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award, The Obesity Society(2011). Also voted Fellow for The Obesity Society. For 2010, United Kingdom Rank Prize for Science, 2010 and Fellow, American Society of Nutritional Sciences, 2010. Recipient of the 1998 Society for International Nutrition Research Kellogg Prize for outstanding International Nutrition; 1992 Bernard G. Greenberg Alumni Leadership Endowment Award of the School of Public Health; Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow; Wisconsin King Christian IV Award for Civil Rights contribution (1965);

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