Dr Helen Walls

BSc MPH(Hons) PhD

Associate Professor
of Global Health and Food Security

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

0207 927 2606

My research interest is the structural drivers of population health. This work particularly focuses on the political economy of food systems and nutrition.

I have an MSc(Hons) from the University of Auckland and a PhD in epidemiology from Monash University. After working at the Australian National University I was awarded an NHMRC Sidney Sax Public Health Fellowship and began working in 2012 with the School. Since this time I have also been affiliated with the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH).

Prior to my PhD studies, I worked in public health in New Zealand regionally and with the Ministry of Health. I have also worked with the World Health Organization (Geneva) on trade policy, diets and non-communicable disease.

I am an Associate Editor of the journal BMC Obesity. I am also an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne and a Research Associate at the University of the Witwatersrand.


Department of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


I am the Module Organiser for PHM109 'Health Policy, Process and Power' on the distance learning MSc in Public Health. I also lecture on the module 'Globalisation and Health'.

I currently supervise several PhD students. I also welcome applications from current MSc students to supervise summer projects on food systems and policy, and other areas related to my research interests.


I am currently involved in two programmes of work funded by the Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Program (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; UK Department for International Development).

One of these research projects, which I lead, examines the impact of Malawi's agricultural input subsidy programme on food choice and dietary diversity. This is in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Malawi and SOAS University of London.

The second of these projects examines the use of financial incentive schemes to incentivise fruit and vegetables consumption in rural India. This is in collaboration with a range of research institutions in India.

I am also a co-investigator on two additional projects. One of these, funded by the Health Services Research Initiative, examines the linkages between migration, gender and health systems responses in South Africa. The other, funded by Public Health England, is an evaluation of how health and corporate actors have used a particular campaign to reduce alcohol consumption.

Research Area
Health inequalities
Health policy
Public health
Evidence use
Global Health
Policy analysis
Disease and Health Conditions
Chronic disease
Non-communicable diseases

Selected Publications

Economic globalization, nutrition and health: a review of quantitative evidence.
Cuevas García-Dorado S; Cornselsen L; Smith R; Walls H
Globalization and Health
Concepts and critical perspectives for food environment research: A global framework with implications for action in low- and middle-income countries
Turner C; Aggarwal A; Walls H; Herforth A; Drewnowski A; Coates J; Kalamatianou S; Kadiyala S
Global Food Security
The impact of agricultural input subsidies on food and nutrition security: a systematic review
Walls H; Johnston D; Tak M; Dixon J; Hanefeld J; Hull E; Smith RD
Food Security
Why we are still failing to measure the nutrition transition.
Walls HL; Johnston D; Mazalale J; Chirwa EW
BMJ global health
What drives political commitment for nutrition? A review and framework synthesis to inform the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition.
Baker P; Hawkes C; Wingrove K; Demaio AR; Parkhurst J; Thow AM; Walls H
BMJ global health
The Many Meanings of Evidence: A Comparative Analysis of the Forms and Roles of Evidence Within Three Health Policy Processes in Cambodia
Walls H; Liverani M; Chheng K; Parkhurst J
Evidence Use in Health Policy Making: An International Public Policy Perspective
Rethinking governance for trade and health.
Walls H; Smith R
BMJ (Clinical research ed)
Improving regulatory capacity to manage risks associated with trade agreements.
Walls HL; Smith RD; Drahos P
Globalization and health
The road to 25×25: how can the five-target strategy reach its goal?
Pearce N; Ebrahim S; McKee M; Lamptey P; Barreto ML; Matheson D; Walls H; Foliaki S; Miranda J; Chimeddamba O
The Lancet Global health
See more Publications