Professor Cecile Knai

PhD MPH RNutr (Public Health)

of Public Health Policy

Room 118

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7958 8155

My first degree was in European history at McGill University, followed by a Master’s degree in public health nutrition at the University of California at Berkeley, and a PhD in public health policy at LSHTM in 2007.

Prior to joining LSHTM I worked at the World Health Organization's Regional Office for Europe (Copenhagen, Denmark), most of which was spent as a technical officer in the food and nutrition unit.


Department of Health Services Research and Policy
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


I co-organise the Fundamental Public Health Nutrition module with Professor Suzanne Filteau.

I also teach on the following modules: Health Promotion Theory, Nutrition-related Chronic Disease, and Nutrition Programme Planning.

I am the Exam Board Chair for the MSc Nutrition for Global Health.


I conduct public health policy research, including on the commercial determinants of health, the impact of voluntary agreements on public health objectives, and conflicts of interest in food and nutrition. For example I was co-PI of a recent study on public health practitioners’ attitudes and practices of taking research funding from corporate sources. I recently established the International Research Alliance on Public Health Governance to conduct cross-disciplinary research on public health policies, including formal and informal mechanisms through which state and non-state actors gain agency and shape relevant policy. One of the group’s first papers has recently been published in Milbank Quarterly on taking a systems perspective to analyse the commercial determinants of health.

I also conduct research on food and nutrition policy and food systems analysis, public health governance, and obesity and inequalities. I am co-PI of a Welcome Trust project on sustainable food systems and involved in a European Commission funded project on systems approaches to addressing adolescent obesity

I provide public health research leadership at the LSHTM Policy Innovation Research Unit, along with Professor Mark Petticrew. Our most recent work includes the evaluation of the “Public Health Responsibility Deal”, a public-private partnership aiming to improve public health in England.

Research Area
Health policy
Public health
Research : policy relationship
Qualitative methods
Policy analysis
Disease and Health Conditions
Chronic disease

Selected Publications

Overweight and obesity prevention for and with adolescents: The \"Confronting obesity: Co-creating policy with youth\" (CO-CREATE) project.
Klepp K-I; Helleve A; Brinsden H; Bröer C; Budin-Ljøsne I; Harbron J; Knai C; Lien N; Luszczynska A; Nesrallah S
Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity
The role of dairy in healthy and sustainable food systems: community voices from India.
Brown KA; Venkateshmurthy NS; Potubariki G; Sharma P; Cardwell JM; Prabhakaran D; Knai C; Mohan S
BMC Public Health
The normalisation of ineffective partnerships between the food industry and government to improve diets
Knai C
Youth participation in policy-making processes in the United Kingdom: a scoping review of the literature
Macauley T; Rolker HB; Scherer M; Brock J; Savona N; Helleve A; Knai C
Journal of Community Practice
Analyse des stratégies et arguments de lobbying de l'industrie de l'alcool contre la loi Evin de régulation du marketing
Millot A; Gallopel-Morvan K; Maani N; Knai C; Petticrew M; Guillou-Landréat M
System mapping with adolescents: Using group model building to map the complexity of obesity.
Savona N; Brown A; Macauley T; Aguiar A; Hayward J; Ayuandini S; Habron J; Grewal NK; Luszczynska A; Mendes S
Obesity Reviews
How involved are parents in their child's early years setting's food decisions and practices?
Williams L; Warren E; Knai C
SSM - Qualitative Research in Health
See more Publications