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Personal profile

Research interests

Carol Williams is a registered public health nutritionist interested in applied food and nutrition research related to health. She examines the practical implications of scientific recommendations; how families and health workers put them into practice and the implications for policy and programme formulation.

Her work is underpinned by concerns with social justice, sustainability and health promotion. She draws on more than 30 years’ experience of working in food and nutrition in the UK, EU and internationally, primarily in the public and Non-Government Organisation (NGO) sectors.

Areas of specific interest and expertise:

  • 'Five a day': factors influencing fruit and vegetable intakes
  • Prevention of obesity
  • Infant feeding and complementary feeding.
  • Vitamin D

Approach to teaching

Carol is Course Leader for the MSc Health Promotion/ International Health Promotion and lead on Public Health Nutrition within the BSc Nutrition. She leads and teaches MSc modules on health promotion and behaviour change, strategy and project planning, and nutrition in public health. She teaches on nutrition, obesity, and infant feeding on undergraduate and postgraduate courses across the SHS and at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

Her teaching style is interactive and seeks to acknowledge, build on and share the expertise and experience within the student group. This includes using breakout groups, scenarios, panel challenges and experience sharing seminars. Sessions are designed to be inspiring and fun, and to help students put their learning into context so they keep the bigger picture in mind. ,  She was awarded a University of Brighton award for Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning in July 2015.  

Scholarly biography

Carol joined the University of Brighton in 2011, taking over Course Leadership of the MSc in Health Promotion. She fully revised the course to align with the competencies of the International Union of Health Promotion (IUHPE) and refocused the curriculum to take a global focus and encourage development of global citizenship. She was promoted to Principal Lecture in 2017 and has been key contributor to the development in the new BSc Nutrition course. She was instrumental in setting up the Brighton and Sussex University Food Network to promote collaboration with colleagues working on food and nutrition across the sites from Social Marketing, Sports Science, Psychology to art and design.  

Prior to this she worked as Early Years Nutrition Lead in the 'Healthy Weight Team', London Regional Public Health Group. Prior to this she combined delivering MSc modules at UCL Institute of Child Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of Westminster, with consultancy work for a range of agencies and a secondment as the Early Years Nutrition Lead in the 'Healthy Weight Team', London Regional Public Health Group. Consultancies include research, training and policy development work for WHO, UNICEF, UK Food Standards Agency, Save the Children Fund, Ministry of Health Philippines, World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, FAO, European Heart Foundation.  Much of her research from this period is published in the grey literature.

She was Co-Director of the WHO/UNICEF Breastfeeding: Practice and Policy Course from 1994-2011 and continues to deliver training internationally on Breastfeeding, working with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

In 2009 she developed a Training of Trainers course ‘Talking about Starting Solid Foods’ which she disseminated throughout the UK to support health professionals in implementing changed recommendations about the timing of complementary feeding.

She has worked as a nutritionist for the Consumers Association, World Cancer Research Fund, West London Health Promotion, and Oxfam in Sudan and Somalia. Her undergraduate degree is in Agricultural Botany and she has experience in crop research in Scotland and schools-based agriculture with Voluntary Services Overseas in Kenya.

Notable achievements in her early career include:

  • She was one of small team responsible for introducing ‘5 fruits and vegetables a day’ into the UK in the early 1990’s following publication of WHO Diet & Chronic Diseases report 1992.
  • Conceived, formatively developed and pilot tested the ‘Guideline Daily Amounts’ for UK Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) in 1995 which are now termed Reference Nutrient Intakes and widely used on food labels in the UK and EU.
  • Devised the scheme for assessing the ‘Strength of Evidence’ on diet and health used in World Cancer Research Fund report 1997, the first published formal framework for transparently appraising diet and public health evidence. This has subsequently become a mainstream approach used by WHO and others expert groups

Education/Academic qualification

Master, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Award Date: 1 Sep 1985

Bachelor, University of Reading

Award Date: 1 Jul 1981


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