The Global Diet and Activity Research Network (GDAR) is funded through the NIHR Global Health Research initiative. Our goal is to help prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancers, in low and middle income countries (LMICs).
These diseases are a major and growing cause of death and disability, and 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. The GDAR Network is generating evidence on the factors that lead to poor diet and physical inactivity, design and evaluate interventions to change these factors (also known as determinants), and use mathematical modelling to investigate the long-term health and economic effects of such interventions.
Although NCDs are often thought of as diseases of affluence, they are more common in 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 work will contribute towards meeting this important target.
Our work involves finding solutions that are affordable and created in partnership with local communities. GDAR builds on the expertise and knowledge of research in Cameroon, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, South Africa and the UK.