Knowledge for a sustainable world

BSc, MSc, PhD
Dr Christopher J Turner
Research Fellow in Food Systems and Public Health Nutrition

Food and Markets Department

Natural Resources Institute, Faculty of Engineering & Science

+44 (0)1634 88 3714

C.J.Turner@greenwich.ac.uk

Dr Christopher Turner is a Research Fellow in Food Systems and Public Health Nutrition at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich. Chris joined the Food and Markets Department at NRI in January 2020 under the Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (FaNSI). He has an interdisciplinary research background that integrates human geography and public health nutrition. His mixed-methods participatory action research seeks to improve knowledge and understanding of food environments, as well as drivers of food acquisition and consumption as part of daily life. Chris is an Academic Co-manager of the UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training (UKFS-CDT), where he leads the UKFS Academy.

Chris graduated from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in 2020 with a PhD in Epidemiology and Population Health. His PhD thesis was titled “Investigating food environments and drivers of food acquisition in low- and middle-income countries: The case of peri-urban Hyderabad, Telangana, India”. As part of his thesis, Chris published a globally applicable conceptual framework for food environment research, as well as the first systematic review of the rapidly emerging body of food environment literature from LMICs. His primary data collection was based in the Andhra Pradesh Children and Parents Study (APCAPS), in Telangana, India, where he designed and implemented a novel qualitative-GIS (Q-GIS) approach featuring smartphone-based participatory photo-mapping, photo-elicitation, and in-depth interviews.

Alongside his PhD research, Chris led the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy – Food Environment Working Group (ANH-FEWG), funded by the Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) program. Chris also led a public engagement project with A-level students from Graycoats Hospital School in London titled ‘Map your school food environment’, funded by the LSHTM Public Engagement Competitive Grants scheme. Since 2015, Chris has collaborated with colleagues from Uppsala University, Sweden; Lund University, Sweden; and Addis Continental School of Public Health, Ethiopia on a FORMAS funded interdisciplinary research project titled “What’s to eat? Women, children and the urban food environment: the case of Addis Ababa”.

Chris currently co-leads the Drivers of Food Choice – Food Environment Working Group, in collaboration with colleagues at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, USA, under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Drivers of Food Choice program. He also collaborates with the International Network for Food and Obesity / Non-communicable Diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) School Food Monitoring Network, and sits on the Advisory Board for the National Institute for Health Research – Obesity Policy Research Unit study on the role of COVID-19 in shaping relationships with food and food environments in the UK.

Prior to his PhD, Chris was employed as a Research Assistant at the Department of Human Geography, Lund University, where he worked on a project based in Ghana and Kenya titled: “African Urban Agriculture: Environmental, Social and Economic Challenges and Prospects under Changing Global and Demographic Realities”. He has teaching experience at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, having taught GIS and development studies courses at the Department of Human Geography, Lund University. He has a MSc in Social Science and Human Geography from Lund University, Sweden, and a BSc in Geography and Sports and Exercise Science from Loughborough University, UK.

My scholarly interests broadly relate to interdisciplinary food systems research, with a particular focus on food environments and drivers of food acquisition and consumption. I have a strong interest in the development of food system and food environment concepts to guide research design, practice, interventions and policy. I also have a keen interest in developing participatory action research methods to improve knowledge and understanding about and how people interact with their food environment to acquire and consume foods as part of daily life. I’m particularly interested in developing participatory action research methods to investigate adolescents’ food environments, including in school, commuting, home and leisure settings. Geographically, my research interests and experience span low- middle and high-income countries.

  • 2019: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine competitive public engagement grants scheme Map your school food environment project (Collaborator).
  • 2016: British Council Newton Bhabha Placement Grant, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India (3 months) (Recipient).
  • 2015-present: FORMAS EAT-Addis study: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PIs: Ekström, L and Jirström, M. (Collaborator).
  • 2015-2020: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health and the London Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health PhD Studentship - thesis title: “Investigating food environments and drivers of food acquisition in LMICs: The case of peri-urban Hyderabad, Telangana, India”. Project conducted in collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh Children and Parents Study, Telangana, India. PI Sanjay Kinra. (PhD candidate).
  • 2013-15: FORMAS/VR African Urban Agriculture: Environmental, Social and Economic Challenges and Prospects under Changing Global and Demographic Realities: Ghana, Kenya. PIs: Alsanius, B., and Jirström, M. (Collaborator).

Lead author:

  • Turner, C., Kalamatianou, S., Drewnowski, A., Kulkarni, B., Kinra, S., Kadiyala, S. (2019) Food Environment Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Scoping Review, Advances in Nutrition, 11:387–397; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz031.
  • Turner, C., Aggarwal, A., Walls, H., Herforth, A., Drewnowski, A., Coates, J., Kalamatianou, S., Kadiyala, S. (2018) Concepts and critical perspectives for food environment research: a global framework with implications for action in low- and middle-income countries, Global Food Security, 18:93–101; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2018.08.003

Co-author

  • Surendran, S., Selvaraj, K., Turner, C., Addanki, S., Kishore Kannuri, N., Debbarma, A., Kadiyala, S., Kinra, S., Walls, H. (2020) Characterising the fruit and vegetable environment of peri-urban Hyderabad, India, Global Food Security, 24, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2019.100343
  • Li, Y., Mallinson, P., Bhan, N., Turner, C., Bhogadi, S., Sharma, C., Aggarwal, A., Kulkarni, B., Kinra, S. (2019) Neighborhood physical food environment and cardiovascular risk factors in India: Cross-sectional evidence from APCAPS, Environment International, 132, 105108, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105108
  • Berhane HY, Ekstrom E-C, Jirstrom M, Berhane Y, Turner C, Alsanius BW, Trenholm, J. (2018) Mixed blessings: A qualitative exploration of mothers’ experience of child care and feeding in the rapidly urbanizing city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PLoS ONE, 13(11): e0207685. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207685
  • Berhane, H.Y., Ekström, E.-C., Jirström, M., Berhane, Y., Turner, C., Alsanius, B.W., Trenholm, J. (2018) What influences urban mother’s decisions on what to feed their children aged under-five – the case of Addis Abba, Ethiopia, Nutrients, 10, (9) DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091142
  • Prtichard, B., Mackay, H., Turner, C. (2017) Special issue introduction: Geographical perspectives on food and nutrition insecurity in the global South, Geographical Research, 55, (2), 127-130, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-5871.12227
  • Picchioni, F., Aurino, E., Aleksandrowicz, L., Bruce, M., Chesterman, S., Dominguez-Salas, P., Gersten, Z., Kalamatianou, S., Turner, C., Yates, J. (2017) Roads to interdisciplinarity - working at the nexus among food systems, nutrition and health, Food Security, 9, 181-189, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12571-017-0658-2
  • Chris was awarded a studentship in Epidemiology and Population Health in 2015, funded by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH).
  • Chris was the recipient of a Newton Bhabha Placement Grant in 2016, funded by the British Council, leading to a 3-month placement at the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad, India.
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