Obesity and Alcohol Use: is there a role for dually focused intervention in young adults (18-25) to tackle unhealthy eating and heavy drinking and effectively reduce future health inequalities?

Funded by Department of Health.

Collaboration with Newcastle University.

Levels of obesity have risen steadily over the past two decades. Thirty-three percent of regular drinkers in the UK are at risk of related health and other problems.

Alcohol use peaks in early adulthood and can exacerbate weight gain. Liver disease is the third most common cause of premature death in the UK and it is increasingly seen in 15-44 year olds. A high body mass index and heavy drinking are independently associated with liver disease but, in combination, they produce a supra-additive risk of damage. Thus we need to develop interventions focused on both behaviours, especially as they can become closely inter-linked in people’s day-to-day lives.

The aim of the study was to explore the links between unhealthy eating behaviour and risky alcohol use in the social, emotional and cultural lives of young adults (aged 18-25), including perceptions of risks, benefits, costs and consequences of these behaviours in early adulthood, and to work with young adults to co-design a dually focused intervention to help reduce health risk and social inequalities due to excess weight gain and alcohol consumption.

To do this the team carried out: a systematic review, secondary quantitative data analysis of national datasets, in-depth qualitative interviews, and workshops.


Total award value £12,033.00

People (1)


Professor Niamh Fitzgerald

Professor Niamh Fitzgerald

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing