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Public Health Nutrition


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Malnutrition in all its forms – including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, unhealthy diets, overnutrition and obesity – is responsible for a fifth of the burden of disease, and a fifth of all premature deaths world-wide. At the same time, the global food system is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the leading cause of biodiversity and habitat loss, land degradation, deforestation and the depletion of freshwater resources.

The Public Health Nutrtition Team works to address these challenges through research, teaching, science communication and policy outreach. Our main focus is on policies to support healthy and sustainable diets on a population level. In our research, we use a broad spectrum of methods, conducting qualitative, mixed-methods and quasi-experimental studies, as well as evidence syntheses, including systematic reviews, scoping reviews and public health guidelines, working closely with policy and practice stakeholders to ensure the relevance and impact of our work.

Team lead: Dr. Peter von Philipsborn

Science manager: Dr. Melissa Theurich

Current projects

  • YAHEE - Young Adults in Health-Enhancing Equitable Environments (ERA4Health/BMBF, 2024-2027)
  • Mensa Plus – Gesund, nachhaltig, partizipativ (BMBF, 2023-2024, project brief)
  • FoodPlanetH - Food Environments for Planetary Health (BMBF- Junior Research Group, 2022-2027, project brief)
  • FoodSAMSA - Food environments in Africa: Addressing Malnutrition using a Syndemics Approach (BLE, 2021-2024, project website)

Past projects

  • PEN - Policy Evaluation Network for Policies affecting Dietary and Physical Activity (2019-2022, project website)

Current team members

Name Title Position E-mail
Anna Leibinger MSc., M.A. PhD Candidate, Research Associate
Annika Hagge BSc., cand. med. Research Assistant
Carmen Klinger M.Sc. PhD Candidate, Research Associate


Elochukwu Okanmelu MD, MHE, M.Sc. Research Associate
Eva Rehfuess Univ. Prof. Dr. BA MA(Oxon) PhD Chair
Johannes Donaubauer MD, MSc. Doctoral Candidate, Research Associate
Katharina Mörschel MD, M.Sc. Visiting Researcher
Melissa Theurich Dr. rer. hum. biol, MPH, B.Sc. Science Manager
Nicole Holliday M.Sc. PhD Candidate, Research Associate
Nina Berg B.Sc. Intern/Student Research Assistant
Peter von Philipsborn MD, M.Sc., M.A. Team Lead
Theresa Mareis cand. med. Doctoral Candidate
Johanna Wenderoth B.Sc. Research Assistant

Former team members


List of publications on PubMed | Complete list of publications as pdf

Selected journal articles

  • Holliday N, Leibinger A, Huizinga O, Klinger C, Okanmelu E, Geffert K, Rehfuess E, von Philipsborn P: Use of the WHO Nutrient Profile Model for food marketing regulation in Germany: feasibility and public health implications. Obesity Facts 2023. (Online, open access)
  • von Philipsborn P, Huizinga O, Leibinger A, Rubin D, Burns J, Emmert-Fees K, Pedron S, Laxy M, Rehfuess E.: Interim Evaluation of Germany’s Sugar Reduction Strategy for Soft Drinks: Commitments versus Actual Trends in Sugar Content and Sugar Sales from Soft Drinks. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2023. (Online, open access)
  • von Philipsborn P, Geffert K, Klinger C, Hebestreit A, Stratil J, Rehfuess E. Nutrition Policies in Germany: A Systematic Assessment with the Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI). Public Health Nutrition 2021. (Online, open access)
  • von Philipsborn P, Stratil JM, Burns J, Busert LK, Pfadenhauer LM, Polus S, Holzapfel C, Hauner H, Rehfuess E. Environmental interventions to reduce the consumption of sugar‐sweetened beverages and their effects on health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD012292. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012292.pub2. (Online, open access)

Current Preprints

  • Kratzer S, Theurich MA, Mareis T, Pröbstl S, Holliday N, Yan S, Leibinger A, Monsef I, Bach L, Schwingshackl L, Simontti A, Hartmann M, Lemken D, von Philipsborn P: Promoting healthy and sustainable diets through food service interventions in university settings: a scoping review. medRxiv 2024. DOI: 10.1101/2024.01.11.24301108 (Online, open access)
  • Leibinger A, Holliday N, Huizinga O, von Philipsborn P: Reach and public health implications of proposed new food marketing regulation in Germany: an updated analysis. medRxiv 2023. DOI: 10.1101/2023.11.08.23298259 (Online, open access)

Current Study Protocols

  • Moerschel K, Leibinger A, Hagge A, Serong J, Stiller S, Fesenfeld L, Hawkins B, von Philipsborn P: The German media debate on taxing animal-based foods: a qualitative framing analysis. Open Science Framework (OSF) 2023. (Online, open access)
  • Leibinger A, Huizinga O, Emmert-Fees K, Pedron S, Laxy M, Rehfuess E, Burns J, von Philipsborn P: The impact of tiered soft drink taxes in Europe on the sugar content of soft drinks: protocol for a synthetic control study. Open Science Framework (OSF) 2023. (Online, open access)
  • Holliday N, Klinger C, Lembani M, Kroll F, Pitt S, von Philipsborn P, Rehfuess E, Delobelle P: Drivers and Levers of the Double Burden of Malnutrition in South Africa: Protocol for a Complex Systems Mapping Exercise. Open Science Framework (OSF) 2023. (Online, open access)
  • Klinger C, Alaba O, Delobelle P, Holliday N, Lambert E, Leibinger A, Okanmelu E, Rehfuess E, von Philipsborn P: Recommendations for and best practices by the formal food industry to address undernutrition and the double burden of malnutrition: a scoping review protocol. Open Science Framework (OSF) 2023. (Online, open access)

Current Conference Abstracts

  • Mareis T, Donaubauer J, Wenderoth J, Leibinger A, Theurich M, Holliday N, Monsef I, Rehfuess E, von Philipsborn P: The school food environment in Germany: protocol for a systematic scoping review and bibliographical network analysis. Abstract presented at the Conference of the German Nutrition Society, Kassel, Germany, March 2024.
  • von Philipsborn P, Holliday N, Mareis T, Klinger C: Barriers and facilitators for the adoption of mandatory school nutrition standards in Germany: protocol for a qualitative case study. Abstract presented at the Hidden Hunger Congress, Hohenheim, Germany, September 2023. (Online, open access)
  • Holliday N, Klinger C, Durao S, Griebler U, Laxy M, Mareis T, Schwingshackl L, Rehfuess E, von Philipsborn P: School nutrition standards for improving diets and health: a Cochrane review protocol. Abstract presented at the Hidden Hunger Congress, Hohenheim, Germany, September 2023.


  • Public Health Nutrition (Course outline)
  • Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases 
  • Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 
  • Food Systems, Climate Change and Global Health (Course guide in German)

Science Communication

  • Stuttgarter Zeitung (01.02.2024): Flüge, Autos, tierische Lebensmittel Ist eine Belohnung für Klimasünden noch zeitgemäß? (Online, €)
  • ZEIT Online (22.11.2023): Zuckersteuer: "Es ließen sich 160.000 Lebensjahre gewinnen" (Online)
  • RiffReporter (07.10.2023): Lauterbachs Präventionspläne: „Das Robert Koch-Institut wird de facto zerschlagen“ (Online, €)
  • Tagesspiegel (26.09.2023): Einmal süß, immer süß: Wie Zucker in der Kindheit der Gesundheit dauerhaft schadet (Online, €)
  • BR Fernsehen (04.07.2023): Industrie und Politik gegen Werbeverbot? (Online)
  • ZEIT ONLINE (27.04.2023): Lieber beschweren, als Zucker reduzieren (Online)
  • (21.02.2023): Zuckergehalt in Softdrinks sinkt kaum (Online)

Further media reports on research by the Public Health Nutrition Team, as well as interviews, blog posts, podcasts and commentary by team members can be found here.


Dr. Peter von Philipsborn, MSc, MA
Team Lead Public Health Nutrition
Chair of Public Health and Health Services Research
Elisabeth-Winterhalter-Weg 6, D-81377 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 178 49 83 817