Our Mission

Obesity - A 'Health Time Bomb'

The global pandemic of obesity has been referred to a “time bomb”, as its prevalence continues to increase, bringing with it a range of serious health disorders such as  cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cancer and osteoarthritis.

These not only influence mortality and morbidity for the individual, but profoundly affect the cost of healthcare provision.  Despite such serious medical effects and cost implications, there are no universally accepted clinical management pathways for obesity and effectively no integrated solution to deal with the evolving epidemic.

The Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology (CORE) was formed in response to this need, and since 2005 has represented a consortium of internationally recognised experts in obesity across a range of contests including primary care, clinical and socio-economic contexts. In 2009 the centre became integrated with the Institute of Health and Wellbeing Research, enabling a broadening of its research base and the development of new areas.

CORE’s current research portfolio encompasses:

  • Obesity and cancer
  • Dietary intervention
  • Physical activity intervention
  • Anthropometry & body composition studies
  • Body image and eating disorders
  • The size and shape of offshore workers


Prof. Iain Broom
Director, Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology (CORE)
Principal Member, Research in the Faculty of Health & Social Care,
Email: j.broom@rgu.ac.uk


Research in the Faculty of Health & Social Care, Level 5, The Sir Ian Wood Building, Garthdee Campus

A map and directions for getting to the Garthdee Campus can be found on the Campus Map


Available literature for the centre

CORE Flyer

The Team

Professor Iain Broom

Director of CORE

Professor Iain Broom is based in the Research in the Faculty of Health & Social Care team, part of the University's Faculty of Health and Social Care and is also a Clinical Professor in Metabolic Medicine at the University of Aberdeen. He was until recently a Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry and Metabolic Medicine within NHS Grampian. Iain also holds a Professorial Research Fellowship with The Rowett Research Institute.

Iain sits on several National and European research committees as a member responsible for peer review of research activity and in a special advisory capacity. He is also an international research advisor to the Institute of Health, University of Sydney (Australia). He is a member of a number of metabolic advisory boards within the pharmaceutical industry.

He is the author of over 200 research papers and has contributed to numerous textbooks and speciality publications.

Dr Arthur Stewart

Reader & Deputy Director, Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology (CORE)

Research Interests

  • 3D laser scanning and digital anthropometry
  • Anthropometry and physique assessment
  • Human Body Composition
  • Body Image assessment
  • Exercise and Health

View Dr Stewart's profile

Dr Giovanna Bermano

Dr Bermano's qualifications include a degree in Food Science and Nutrition from the University of Milan, Italy (1991) and PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Aberdeen in 1997.

Research Interests:

Dr Bermano's main scientific interest involves the understanding of the relationship between diet and human health including an understanding of the relationship between dietary intake of selenium and development of cancer in the gastro-intestinal tract.

Dr Bermano is the Research Degree co-ordinator for CORE and is also Course Leader for the MSc in Obesity Science and Management

View Dr Bermano's profile

Dr Catherine Rolland

Research Interests:

  • Examining and comparing the effects of low carbohydrate vs low fat diets on cardiovascular risk factors
  • Determining if the adipokine response differs when weight is lost with low carbohydrate vs low fat diet and investigating if the protein content of the diet impacts on the adipokine response
  • Determining if the obese phenotype at presentation impacts on the response to different dietary manipulations
  • Investigating the efficacy of a very low calorie nutritionally complete diet formula accompanied by cognitive behaviour therapy (Lighterlife Programme) for achieving long term weight loss
  • The use of proteomics in identifying novel proteins in clinical adipose tissue and serum samples to clarify the mechanisms underlying obesity

Associate Members

Dr Jenny Brown

Dr Brown has had an interest in obesity management and research since 1993. In particular, she recognised the need for practical but theoretically underpinned approaches to the management of obesity. She has therefore researched and developed a holistic person-centred intervention to help individuals towards self-care in weight management.


Current Projects

Molecular Control Mechanisms

The Centre has now had over four years of research grant funding from industry of just under £1million to investigate the effects of varying dietary and behavioural therapies on weight management, with additional focus on molecular control mechanisms which stimulate and suppress appetite and satiety. Work is also ongoing in assessing effects of treatment on cardiovascular disease risk.

Insulin Resistance in the Development of Breast Cancer

The Centre has received Research Development Initiative (RDI) funding to carry out research into insulin resistance in the development of breast cancer. Breast cancer is known to recur more often in obese women than those of normal weight. Increasing weight, especially around the abdomen, increases insulin resistance, eventually resulting in diabetes mellitus.

This work funds one senior scientific research fellow and PhD/MD students.

Past projects


Over the last three years the Centre has been leading the roll-out of Counterweight, an obesity management programme, which is being supported by the Scottish Executive as part of its Prevention 2010 initiative to target health care at Scotland’s most deprived communities. In 2005 the programme was the main recipient of £1.2 million support from the then Scottish Executive.

Counterweight is a primary-care led obesity management programme. It provides an education and mentoring programme for practice nurses to upscale their knowledge and skills in the management of obesity, which sees staff supported for up to a year by weight management advisors who have been specially trained in obesity management and form the Counterweight team in primary practice.


The centre offers seasonal training programmes scheduled either at regular intervals or upon public demand.

Msc Obesity Science And Management
One of only two courses in the UK, and the first in Scotland, that provides postgraduate education and training for a wide range of health professionals dealing with patients for whom obesity is a key contributor to morbidity and mortality.

Anthropometry Training
We provide professional anthropometry training courses on behalf of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK).

Public Engagement
CORE played a central role in the Royal Society’s 350th Anniversary Summer Science Exhibition with “Fat Body Slim: Shape Matters!”, in 2010. This is an interactive approach to educate young adults about the relationship between body shape, composition and health. With support from the Scottish Government we are now taking the exhibit to community centres/schools across Scotland. The Fatbodyslim website was created as a web resource to accompany exhibit.