After six years leading the Obesity Health Alliance, Caroline Cerny will be leaving OHA in June.

As Alliance Lead, Caroline has been responsible for building the coalition from an informal group of organisations interested in collaborating, to a high profile and effective advocacy alliance that has successfully campaigned for the introduction of the soft drinks industry levy and tougher restrictions on junk food marketing.

Caroline joined OHA in March 2016, just three months after its launch and was the first dedicated staff member. Prior to moving to OHA, Caroline spent 8 years at Cancer Research UK which included a six-month secondment to the Department of Health and Social Care, working with the team developing the first child obesity plan. From mid-June, Caroline will be joining OHA member organisation Bite Back 2030 as Director of Policy and Engagement.

Caroline said: “I’m incredibly proud of the progress we have achieved working together as a coalition. The last six years have seen many twists and turns on the public health policy agenda and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to play a key role in building the OHA during such a vital time for healthy weight related policy. I’m really looking forward to continuing to support the OHA as a member through the next stage of its journey.”

The OHA Steering Group will shortly be recruiting for a new Alliance Lead. This is an exciting opportunity to lead the future direction of the OHA as it enters a new phase to deliver the priorities outlined in its 2021 report ‘Turning the Tide: A 10-Year Healthy Weight Strategy.’

John Maingay, Director of Policy and Influencing at the British Heart Foundation said: “OHA has been a driving force in tackling the UK’s foremost public health challenge and driver of health inequality – growing overweight and obesity in the population. It has already, with limited resources, brought about important and impactful systemic changes, as well as producing an overarching strategy for the next ten years.

“Caroline’s extensive network of contacts, strategic view and highly-focused action plans are just some factors in the success she has brought to OHA, leading it from its beginnings as a modestly funded alliance to a major and highly respected system influencer. She leaves the OHA in excellent condition to continue this vital work and create a happier, healthier, more physically resilient UK population.

OHA Steering Group member, Malcolm Clark, Cancer Research UK said: “The OHA continues to bring about real change in the obesity policy landscape. We are on the verge of the successful passage of legislation restricting junk food marketing on TV and online and heading ever closer to the implementation date for volume and location-based promotion restrictions in England. These achievements would not have been possible without Caroline’s collegiate leadership and her tenacious influencing skills. With the OHA’s Healthy Weight Strategy launched last September, further broadening out of the organisations involved in the alliance, and three further years of funding secured from Cancer Research UK, Caroline leaves OHA in a very strong position to continue to have significant impact on public health policy.”