The goal of the Global Diet and Activity Research Network (GDAR) is to help prevent non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancers, in low and middle income countries. It is funded through the NIHR Global Health Research initiative.
GDAR is a collaboration of researchers from seven universities in six countries on three continents. The GDAR Group is based in Cambridge, UK, and the Network is made up of researchers from Cameroon, the Caribbean, Kenya, South Africa and the UK.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a major and growing cause of death and disability. Two of the most important causes of this trend are unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity, both of which are associated with rapid economic development. In fact, although NCDs are often thought of as diseases of affluence, they are more common in low and middle income countries (LMICs) than in high income countries.
In LMICs most people with NCDs are of working age. Death or disability caused by an NCD can leave a family destitute, particularly those in the poorer sections of society who are increasingly exposed to the risks causing NCDs and who often find it difficult to afford and access healthcare. NCDs are, therefore, limiting the ability of LMICs to develop socially and economically.
In response to this, the United Nations developed Sustainable Development Goals that commit countries to reducing mortality from NCDs in adults aged 30 to 70 years by one third by 2030.
The work of GDAR will contribute towards meeting this important target by:
- generating evidence on the factors that lead to poor diet and physical inactivity
- designing and evaluating interventions to change these factors (also known as determinants)
- using mathematical modelling to investigate the long-term health and economic effects of such interventions.
Our work involves finding solutions that are affordable and created in partnership with local communities.