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Large population-based prospective studies are a valuable way of investigating many slow-acting causes of common chronic diseases. PHRU is collaborating with researchers in low and middle income countries to generate reliable evidence about the importance of common risk factors for premature death (such as smoking, alcohol and adiposity).

PHRU supports some of the world's largest studies, including the China Kadoorie Biobank in over 0.5 million participants, which is significantly altering our understanding of the causes and treatment of disease.

Our previous research has demonstrated the hazards of prolonged smoking and the benefits of stopping smoking in high-income countries.  Coordinated by Dr Sarah Lewington (MRC Programme Leader Track) ongoing studies involving 1.4 million participants, are currently assessing the risks of smoking in particular countries, including Cuba and India.  In 2009 and 2014 we reported that excessive alcohol consumption (chiefly vodka) was responsible for most premature deaths in Russia and this immediately prompted new public health strategies to limit heavy alcohol consumption. Our study in Mexico (where one-third of men and one-half of women are obese) will examine the risks associated with diabetes and different patterns of obesity. 

Team Leaders


China Kadoorie Biobank

Cohort Studies in Diverse Populations