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Shaping healthier food environments 

Shaping healthier food environments 

An event hosted by the All-island Obesity Action Forum, supported by safefood. 

Date: 21 November, 2023 

Time: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm (Registration opens from 9.00 am)

Location: Ulster Museum, Stranmillis Road, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, BT9 5AB and online via Zoom 

Click to register

Irish version

Event overview

We live in a food environment that influences how we buy, prepare and consume food. Each day, we are challenged with a ‘foodscape’ that promotes and encourages unhealthy eating and excess energy consumption. It is now widely acknowledged that these unhealthy environments are contributing to obesity and ill-health. 

This event will explore opportunities to support healthier food choices and ultimately improve population health. Speakers will discuss our current food environment and strategies to create healthier environments, sharing experiences that include the retail and advertising environments. 


09.00 am: Registration with tea and coffee 

10.00 am: Welcome and opening address 

10.15 am:  Professor Amelia Lake, Teesside University and Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health – ‘Opportunities to improve population health: exploring healthy food environments’ 

10.40 am: Sinead O’Mahony, Food Safety Authority of Ireland and University College Dublin – ‘Availability and prominence of healthy and unhealthy foods in supermarkets in Dublin, Ireland’ 

11.05 am: Break  

11.25 am: Fran Bernhardt, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming – ‘Local action on food advertising to address obesity and health inequalities’ 

11.50 am: Heather Brown, Lancaster University – ‘Monitoring and evaluating planning policy related to the food environment; what we have learned and what’s next?’ 

12.15 pm: Questions and answer session 

12.45 pm: Closing remarks 

01.00 pm: Lunch and networking  

Who should attend

This event will be of interest to those working in public health, academia, medical and clinical areas, the statutory, voluntary community sector, in industry, local planning departments and in government departments. 

Find out more

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]  

Call: (IRE) 0818 40 4567 (NI) 0800 085 1683 


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Shaping healthier food environments

Please note in-person registration is now closed. Please register below to join the event online.


Heather Brown

Heather Brown

Professor of Health Inequalities, Lancaster University

Heather Brown is a Professor of Health Inequalities at Lancaster University.  Her main research interests are the economics causes and consequences of health inequalities and policy evaluation. Heather uses large datasets including linked data to evaluate policy as well as identify current trends and areas for future policy and interventions.   She is also interested in engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to make complex quantitative data analysis accessible and user friendly.

Fran Bernhardt

Fran Bernhardt

Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Since 2018, Fran has advised the Mayor of London's team on writing and implementing the Healthier Food Advertising policy which restricts unhealthy food and drink advertising from the Transport for London network. This has led to a weekly reduction of 1,000 calories and a 20% reduction in sugary products in London households' purchases. It is estimated to prevent 100,000 cases of obesity, 3000 cases of diabetes and 2000 cases of heart disease plus it's expected to deliver a saving of £218 million to London's NHS over the lifetime of the current population. 

She has also supported eight local governments to take it through their own council boards to successfully pass the policy: Haringey, Merton, Southwark, Greenwich, Bristol, Barnsley, Tower Hamlets and Luton. There are now more than 100 local governments consulting her for support to do the same across their own advertising sites.

Sinead O’Mahony

Sinead O’Mahony

Food Safety Authority of Ireland and University College Dublin

Sinéad O'Mahony is a CORU registered Dietitian. She graduated with a BSc in Dietetics from Ulster University and an MSc in Public Health (Health Promotion) from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London. Sinéad works as a Senior Technical Executive on the Irish Food Reformulation Task Force, a strategic partnership between the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Healthy Ireland. She is also currently completing a part time PhD on the healthiness of the urban food retail environment and food reformulation in Ireland (2019-2024), at University College Dublin under the supervision of Professor Eileen Gibney, Professor Gerardine Doyle and Nuala Collins. 

Professor Amelia Lake

Professor Amelia Lake

Teesside University and Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health

Professor Amelia A Lake is a dietitian and public health nutritionist at Teesside University. Amelia is Associate Director of Fuse, The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health and is the Fuse lead on the NIHR School of Public Health research theme ‘Healthy Places, Healthy Planet’. 

Amelia’s research involves transdisciplinary collaborations to examine how the environment interacts with individual behaviours. Her current work is around healthy planning policy, food insecurity, energy drinks, workplace health, food systems, school food environments, the obesogenic environment and knowledge exchange.  

Amelia has extensive experience of working with policy makers, practitioners, non-specialist audiences as well as academics, and has produced training programmes as well as short films. Amelia also runs a small charity called The David Ashwell Foundation funding research into a rare lung disease affecting new born babies in memory of her son David. 




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