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Jane Wardle

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 25 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6307
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Prolific health psychologist and director of Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre

Jane Wardle was a clinical psychologist whose research had a profound impact on cancer prevention. In 1991 she was persuaded by a colleague to join the nascent health behaviour unit at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry. The unit was funded by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and had a brief to look at cancer prevention.

Before joining the unit Wardle had been a practising clinical psychologist and lecturer at the institute, but she had also undertaken research on obesity, binge eating, and dietary preferences. She studied the eating behaviour of infant twins, observing them in the clinic and asking their parents to record their eating behaviour at home. Eventually she and her coauthors were able to show the influence of the FTO gene, and that those children who carried the obese type variant were less likely to stop eating when they were full.1

The study of obesity in both adults and children was an interest throughout Wardle’s life, and she came up with the “Ten Top Tips” campaign—a list of helpful and easy to …

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