Anthony Hanley

Anthony HanleyProfessor,
Nutritional Sciences, Medicine, and Public Health

Despite recent advancements in our understanding of issues relating to childhood obesity, there is much more to be learned. “We certainly know that problems like poverty and energy imbalance are major factors that lead to childhood obesity, but there are still huge knowledge gaps,” says Anthony Hanley. “It is an extremely complex phenomenon. We need to understand the full spectrum of its causes so we can prevent and treat it more effectively.”

Hanley holds the Canada Research Chair in the Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes since 2006. His research on the metabolic and lifestyle factors leading to diabetes in vulnerable populations has helped scientists and physicians better understand the early causes of the disease. He is also helping to develop new prevention and treatment strategies for this disease.

“What we are learning about diabetes is consistent in some ways with what we know about childhood obesity: both conditions can be traced back to the very early years in a person’s life,” says Hanley.  In fact, more evidence is showing that factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood are linked to environments and nutrition in early childhood, and possibly even in the intrauterine period.

Hanley thinks that the research environment and resources that the Lawson Centre provides will help to bridge the current knowledge gaps in this field; however, it will take some time to foster new relationships that can eventually lead to breakthroughs. “By continuing to attract world-class scientists to our network and mentoring the trainees who are on the front lines of research, the Lawson Centre can significantly improve our understanding of childhood nutrition issues,” he says.

“Our work can help to assemble the pieces of the puzzle for complex health and disease problems affecting our society. Creating a robust scientific evidence base is critically important to address the growing problem of childhood obesity and its downstream consequences, including diabetes.”

At a glance:

Anthony Hanley, PhD

Research Interests

  • Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes and associated complications
  • Aboriginal health
  • Insulin resistance
  • Beta cell dysfunction
  • Adipose tissue biomarkers
  • Inflammation biomarkers
  • Nutritional epidemiology


  • Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences, Medicine, and Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Associate Scientist, Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Canada Research Chair in the Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes


See Anthony’s profile on the Department of Nutritional Sciences website for more information.

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