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Dr Christina Vogel BSc (Dietetics Hons) BSc (Psych) PG Dip PhD

Principal Research Fellow in Public Health Nutrition

Dr Christina Vogel's photo

Dr Christina Vogel is a Public Health Nutrition scientist at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit.

My research aims to advance understanding of the pathways between the psychological, social and environmental determinants of poor diet. By identifying focal points for intervention, we can test strategies that help reduce the significant burden of global ill health associated with poor nutrition and dietary inequalities.

I am dedicated to improving population health, and reducing health inequalities through food and nutrition-based initiatives. I have developed a program of research to examine the psychological and socio-economic pathways between the food environment and diets of women and children, and test interventions aimed at reducing dietary inequalities.

I have had a long term interest in understanding the factors that prompt people to adopt particular diets and accordingly completed my undergraduate studies in Nutrition and Dietetic, and in Psychology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. I worked as a public health nutritionist in a range of settings, including remote indigenous communities, a non-government organisation and state and regional government departments, before moving into academia. I completed a PhD in 2014 from the University of Southampton after having successfully secured an NIHR fellowship in 2011. As part of this project, I developed a number of novel metrics to describe health-place relationships. I was awarded a University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine postdoctoral career track award in 2015 and an Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard – Health of the Public 2040 award in 2017 to support my postdoctoral research. This work focused on translating my observational PhD findings into pilot testing modifications of the food environment.

My research has received international media coverage and findings have been used by Southampton City policy makers in the Children and Young People’s Healthy Weight Plan and the 10 Year City Plan. The collaborations I have developed with internationally renowned health geographers and behavioural scientists have advanced my skills in epidemiology, spatial mapping of the environmental determinants of diet, and pathway modelling. I have established a collaboration with a UK discount supermarket chain and currently lead the independent evaluation of a nation-wide cluster trial to test the effect of supermarket-based interventions, particularly product placement strategies, on dietary behaviours.

I am committed to scientific rigor and in my roles as Associate-Editor (2016-present) of the journal Public Health Nutrition and Treasurer of the World Public Health Nutrition Association (2012-2017) I have supported high quality publications and practice. I am an invited member of the ESRC Obesity Strategic Network, a collaboration of 40 members from academia, industry, health charities and the public sector, and the UK Preconception Partnership, an advocacy coalition for optimising nutrition and health prior to conception to enhance lifelong health.


PhD Public Health, University of Southampton, United Kingdom (2014)

Graduate Diploma in Politics and Policy, Deakin University, Australia (2014)

Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition & Dietetics - honours), University of Newcastle, Australia (2002)

Bachelor of Science (psychological major), University of Newcastle, Australia (2003)

Appointments held

Principal Research Fellow, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton (Mar 2019–present)

Senior Research Fellow, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton (2015 – present)

Research Fellow, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton (2009 – 2014)

Fit 4 Life Coordinator, Southampton Primary Care Trust (2009)

Research Fellow, Trinity College Dublin and Karolinska Institute, Sweden (2008)

Senior Project Officer, Victorian Government Department of Human Services, Melbourne (2007-2008)

Nutrition Manager and Nutrition Officer, National Heart Foundation of Australia, Melbourne (2006-2007)

Public Health Nutritionist, Northern Territory Health, East Arnhem (2004-2005)


Research interests

My research focuses on i) understanding the psychological and socio-economic pathways between the food environment and diets of women, adolescents and children; and ii) testing interventions aimed at improving dietary behaviours and reducing dietary inequalities. My work involves developing a number of novel environmental metrics to describe place-health relations, and applying statistical modelling techniques to examine interdependent pathways. We are currently developing a novel ecological momentary assessment tool to collect real-time and Global Positioning System (GPS) data. These data will enhance understanding of the social and physical environments in determining the food purchasing and diet behaviours of adolescents.

Key findings of our work identified that discount supermarkets had less healthy environments than other supermarkets, and are frequently used by disadvantaged families with poorer diets which may be exacerbating dietary inequalities. This observational work has been developed into an intervention study involving a collaboration with a UK discount supermarket chain frequently used by disadvantaged populations. I am Principal Investigator of this work, and have attracted grants to assess the influence of in-store product placement interventions on food purchasing and dietary patterns of women customers and their children.

I am also involved in a number of other research activities. These include: developing brief dietary assessment and primary outcome measures that can be used to assess change in dietary patterns in large-scale intervention studies; ii) contributing to the design, delivery and evaluation of the ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’ behaviour change training package for health and social care practitioners; and iii) co-ordinating the process evaluation activities of intervention studies which involves using mixed-methods to examine contextual factors, intervention fidelity and likely mechanisms of impact.   

PhD Supervision

I am supervising three PhD students, in studies relating to dietary behaviours, public health, geography and mixed methods research.

Research Projects


Current projects include:

  • Nudging healthier dietary habits: evaluation of a supermarket placement strategy in the WRAPPED study
    Funding: NIHR 2019-2022 (PI)
  • Investigating legislative options to curb the promotion of unhealthy foods in prominent retail locations: building a complex adaptive system
    Funding: UoS 2019-2022 (PI, primary supervisor)
  • The interplay between social and physical factors and their relationship with the dietary behaviours of adolescents
    Funding: SBRC 2018-2021 (PI, primary supervisor)
  • Regional variations in diet in England
    Funding: SCDTP 2018-2020 (co-supervisor)
  • Women’s Responses to Adjusted Project Placement and its Effects on Diet (WRAPPED): a pilot study
    Funding: PCTA/AcMedSci/SBRC 2015-2018 (PI)
  • Engaging adolescents in changing behaviour (EACh-B): improving the diets and physical activity levels of teenagers
    Funding: NIHR 2017-2022 (workpackage lead)
  • SPrING Southampton Pregnancy Intervention for the Next Generation
    Funding: MRC/SBRC 2013-2018 (process evaluation lead)

Research group

Human Development and Health

Postgraduate student supervision


Preeti Dhuria, PhD

Sarah Shaw, PhD

Monique Campbell, PhD


2018 Sarah Kirkham-Brown, MSc Public Health

2018 Sarah Mills, MSc Public Health

2017 Taras Safonov, MSc Statistics

2016 Cara Pinkney, MSc Public Health

2016 Donna Congalton, MSc Health Science University of Auckland

2015 Camilla Barrett, MSc Public Health

2015 Charlotte Booker, MSc Public Health


External professional activities:

Associate Editor, Public Health Nutrition (2016-present)

Invited member UK Preconception Partnership (2018-present)

Invited member ESRC Strategic for Obesity (2015-2017)

Elected Treasurer, World Public Health Nutrition Association (2012-2017)

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Book Chapter

  • Vogel, C., & Piernas, C. (2022). The retail food environment. In C. Evans (Ed.), Transforming Food Environments (1st ed., pp. 63-78). Routledge.

MSc Public Health

Lecturer in MEDI6073 (Epidemiology: concepts, analysis and application) and MEDI6074 (Food systems)

Supervision and marking for MEDI6071 (Dissertation project)


Group tutor in SSU1 (Student Select Unit – Health Improvement)

Group tutor in MiP2 (Medicine in Practice/Health Care Support Worker)

Examiner PhD

Examiner MSc Public Health Nutrition intervention development group projects and presentations, Karolinska Institute, Sweden (2009-2011)

Dr Christina Vogel
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit

Room Number : SGH/MRC/MP95

Facsimile: (023) 8070 4021

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