Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsWelcome to Obesity, Causes and Consequences, a four-week course which allows you to explore the topic. The journey you take through the course is completely up to you. You can visit all the activities or just dip into those of particular interest. But however you approach this course, we hope you enjoy the experience. Obesity is changing the world we live in across a wide range of sectors. From the food industry to clothing design, we can see the impact of the world's growing waistline. Perhaps the biggest impact of all is on our physical and psychological health and the effect on the organisations that support these. Together, we'll investigate how modern life is increasing the levels of obesity and the wide-ranging consequences of this.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 secondsWe'll explore the impact of abundant, cheap, high-calorie fast food, sedentary lifestyles, changing modes of transport, and increasing urbanisation. Throughout this four-week course, we'll explore the following questions. How do we define and measure obesity? What are the causes of obesity? What are the consequences of obesity on health? And finally, how is research into obesity helping us to understand the issue? The course is intended for a wide audience and is suitable for anyone with an interest in understanding obesity and health. First of all, we thought you might be interested to know a little bit about the team who put the course together. I'm Angela Alexander, and I'm professor of pharmacy education at the University of Reading.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 secondsI'm also director of the Centre for Inter-Professional Postgraduate Education and Training, which runs the course on obesity here at the University of Reading. And my interest in obesity stems from that course. I'll let my other colleagues introduce themselves. Hi, I'm Dr. Samantha Weston. I'm associate professor in pharmacy at the University of Reading. I'm also head of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Reading Malaysia. I've been a pharmacist practising for about 15 years now. I've spent quite a lot of time working community practice with weight and health management. And hello, my name is Richard Frazier, and I'm a professor of food science in the university's Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences.

Skip to 2 minutes and 21 secondsSo in our department, we do a lot of research around the effects of people's diet on their health. And one of the big factors we look at is obesity.

Welcome to Week 1

Welcome to ‘Obesity: causes and consequences’. We’re happy to have you on board and hope you’ll gain insightful knowledge into why obesity is becoming more prevalent and the issues that this can present.

In the video we introduce ourselves and our roles at the University of Reading’s School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy.


We’ll also be joined by Dr Andrew Brewster, a GP with a particular interest in obesity and the clinical director of the University of Reading’s Certificate in Obesity Management.

Course Mentors will be on hand to help support the discussions. They’ll answer questions where they can, but we can’t promise that they’ll be able to respond to everyone.

Note: By following the mentors any comments they have made will appear in your feed. Due to the number of learners on the course they are unable to answer everyone’s comments, so having access to comments we’ve made means you’ll be able to see if they have already answered any queries that are similar to your own.

Over the next few steps, you can find out more about the topics we will cover, as well as how to use the FutureLearn platform to maximise your learning experience.

If you haven’t already done so, we’d be grateful if you could complete the pre-course survey.

Take a few minutes to introduce yourselves in the to discussion below

What is your interest in obesity? What are you hoping to gain from the course?

You can ‘Like’ and respond on other learners’ comments. You are also able to filter comments by ‘Everyone’, ‘Following’, ‘Most liked’ and ‘My comments’.

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This video is from the free online course:

Obesity: Causes and Consequences

University of Reading