Epidemiology and Population Health

Creating a long-term future for big data in obesity research


Big data are part of the future in obesity research. The ESRC funded Strategic Network for Obesity has together generated a series of papers, published in the International Journal for Obesity illustrating various aspects of their utility, in particular relating to the large social and environmental drivers of obesity. This article is the final part of the series and reflects upon progress to date and identifies four areas that require attention to promote the continued role of big data in research. We additionally include a ‘getting started with big data’ checklist to encourage more obesity researchers to engage with alternative data resources.

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The ESRC Strategic Network for Obesity was funded via Economic and Social Research Council grant number ES/N00941X/1. The authors would like to thank all of the network investigators (www.cdrc.ac.uk/research/obesity/investigators/) and members (www.cdrc.ac.uk/research/obesity/network-members/) for their participation in network meetings and discussion that contributed to the development of this paper. Thanks to the editorial team at the International Journal of Obesity for their support and encouragement in producing this series of papers.

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Correspondence to Michelle A. Morris.

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Birkin, M., Wilkins, E. & Morris, M.A. Creating a long-term future for big data in obesity research. Int J Obes 43, 2587–2592 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-019-0477-y

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