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Dr Magdalena Muc Da Encarnacao

Profile summary

Professional biography

Post-doctoral Research Associate in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport.

My research expertise has grown from a biological background (MSc, Biology; Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland). Building on my Doctoral studies which examined the role of common risk factors in the association between obesity and asthma (Ph.D., Biological Anthropology; University of Coimbra, Portugal), I joined the Department of Clinical Sciences of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to study the obesity markers, metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and malnutrition in Brazil and Nigeria.

In 2018 I brought this expertise to the Adwareness project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, and led by the University of Liverpool in collaboration with the Open University. I explored children’s and parental attitudes and awareness of unhealthy food marketing to children in digital media.

Since this time, I have been involved in several projects on the topic of unhealthy food marketing and other food policy aspects, for example, menu calorie labeling in the UK, with the University of Liverpool, and a systematic review and expert interview project on the topic of unhealthy food marketing, commissioned by the Public Health England.

I was commissioned by the World Health Organisation (2019) to work on projects evaluating two food policies implemented in Portugal: the sugar tax and regulatory reduction of salt content in bread.

I joined the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education, and Language Studies in 2021 to work on projects advocating food marketing that places children’s health centrally. 

I am a research associate on the CLICKBITE study, funded by Safefood, which is exploring the exposure of children and adolescents to the digital marketing of unhealthy foods on the island of Ireland. I also contribute my expertise to the Best-ReMaP European Union Joint Action, developing EU- wide monitoring protocols and exploring facilitators and challenges in implementing the monitoring program in the Member States.

Research interests

Currently, my research interests are in the marketing of unhealthy foods to children and include:

  • people’s awareness of and attitudes toward unhealthy foods marketing
  • monitoring reach and power of unhealthy food marketing reaching children through various media and settings (methods, challenges, and facilitators)
  • the effect of such marketing on people’s behaviour and preferences
  • food policy and nutrition
  • socioeconomic and environmental risk factors of obesity

Impact and engagement

The Best-ReMaP joint action will result in the development of a coordinated and comprehensive protocol to monitor unhealthy foods in various settings (TV, internet, and outdoors) that Member States will be able to implement. Piloting the implementation of these tools is currently underway in 20 studies across twelve countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, and Srpska Republica). This is accompanied by training the countries’ representatives in using the monitoring protocols and exploring the challenges and facilitators of the monitoring program implementation in order to inform future EU policy and actions.

The CLICKBITE study team is collaborating with the University of Galway as well as a board of international experts in the field to comprehensively explore the unhealthy food marketing ecosystem in the Island of Ireland and inform future policy. This study is likely to contribute to the field with a range of relevant novel publications.

I am recognised as an expert in the field and am active in the campaign run by the European Public Health Alliance to Stop Unhealthy Food marketing to children in the EU.

External collaborations

I collaborate with a range of national and international partners, including from the University of Liverpool, The University of Galway, the University College of Cork, The Directorate-General of Health in Portugal, 13 EU partner countries involved in the Best-ReMaP Joint action, the World Health Organisation (European office), OECD and Joint Research Centre (JRC, EU). 


Modeling the health impact of legislation to limit the salt content of bread in Portugal: A macro simulation study (2022-09-13)
Goiana-da-Silva, Francisco; Cruz-e-Silva, David; Rito, Ana; Lopes, Carla; Muc, Magdalena; Darzi, Ara; Araújo, Fernando; Miraldo, Marisa; Morais Nunes, Alexandre and Allen, Luke N.
Frontiers in Public Health, 10, Article 876827

A scoping review of outdoor food marketing: exposure, power and impacts on eating behaviour and health (2022-07-27)
Finlay, Amy; Robinson, Eric; Jones, Andrew; Maden, Michelle; Cerny, Caroline; Muc, Magdalena; Evans, Rebecca; Makin, Harriet and Boyland, Emma
BMC Public Health, 22, Article 1431

Less obesity but higher inequalities in Portuguese children: Trends of childhood obesity between 2002--2016 (2021-05)
Rodrigues, Daniela; Muc, Magdalena; Machado-Rodrigues, Aristides M and Padez, Cristina
Acta Paediatrica, 110(5) (pp. 1526-1533)

Heterogeneous contributions of change in population distribution of body mass index to change in obesity and underweight (2021-03-09)
NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), and Muc, Magdalena
eLife, 10, Article e60060

Indirect associations between commercial television exposure and child body mass index (2021-01-07)
Boyland, Emma; Muc, Magdalena; Kelly, Bridget; Halford, Jason C. G.; Vohra, Jyotsna; Rosenberg, Gillian and Christiansen, Paul
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 53(1) (pp. 20-27)

Marketing of unhealthy brands during the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup UK broadcasts – a frequency analysis (2021)
Ireland, Robin; Muc, Magdalena; Bunn, Christopher and Boyland, Emma
Journal of Strategic Marketing ((Early Access))

Height and body-mass index trajectories of school-aged children and adolescents from 1985 to 2019 in 200 countries and territories: a pooled analysis of 2181 population-based studies with 65 million participants (2020-11-07)
NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), and Muc Da Encarnacao, Magdalena
The Lancet, 396(10261) (pp. 1511-1524)

Projected impact of the Portuguese sugar-sweetened beverage tax on obesity incidence across different age groups: A modelling study (2020)
Goiana-da-Silva, Francisco; Severo, Milton; Cruz e Silva, David; Gregório, Maria João; Allen, Luke N.; Muc, Magdalena; Morais Nunes, Alexandre; Torres, Duarte; Miraldo, Marisa; Ashrafian, Hutan; Rito, Ana; Wickramasinghe, Kremlin; Breda, João; Darzi, Ara and Araújo, Fernando
PLoS medicine, 17, Article e1003036(3)

A bit or a lot on the side? Observational study of the energy content of starters, sides and desserts in major UK restaurant chains (2019)
Muc, Magdalena; Jones, Andrew; Roberts, Carl; Sheen, Florence; Haynes, Ashleigh and Robinson, Eric
BMJ open, 9, Article e029679

Rising rural body-mass index is the main driver of the global obesity epidemic in adults (2019)
NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), and Muc, Magdalena
Nature, 569 (pp. 260-264)

Worldwide trends in body-mass index, underweight, overweight, and obesity from 1975 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 2416 population-based measurement studies in 128.9 million children, adolescents, and adults (2017-12-16)
NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), and Muc Da Encarnacao, Magdalena
Lancet, 390(10113)

Tuberculosis and diabetes in Nigerian patients with and without HIV (2017-08)
Lawson, Lovett; Muc, Magdalena; Oladimeji, Olanrewaju; Iweha, Chijioke; Opoola, Blessing; Abdurhaman, Saddiq T.; Bimba, John S. and Cuevas, Luis E.
International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 61 (pp. 121-125)

The lactase- 13910C> T polymorphism (rs4988235) is associated with overweight/obesity and obesity-related variables in a population sample of Portuguese young adults (2017)
Manco, L; Dias, H; Muc, Magdalena and Padez, C
European journal of clinical nutrition, 71(1) (pp. 21-24)

Association study between near-MC4R variants and obesity-related variables in Portuguese young adults (2016-12)
Manco, Licínio; Muc, Magdalena and Padez, Cristina
Gene Reports, 5 (pp. 98-101)

Metabolic derangements identified through untargeted metabolomics in a cross-sectional study of Nigerian children with severe acute malnutrition (2016)
McMillan, Amy; Orimadegun, Adebola E.; Sumarah, Mark W.; Renaud, Justin; Muc Da Encarnacao, Magdalena; Gloor, Gregory B.; Akinyinka, Olusegun O.; Reid, Gregor and Allen, Stephen J.
Metabolomics, 13(2)

Association of polymorphisms in 5-HTT (SLC6A4) and MAOA genes with measures of obesity in young adults of Portuguese origin (2016)
Dias, Helena; Muc, Magdalena; Padez, Cristina and Manco, Licínio
Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry, 122(1) (pp. 8-13)

Association between obesity and asthma - epidemiology, pathophysiology and clinical profile (2016)
Muc Da Encarnacao, Magdalena; Mota-Pinto, Anabela and Padez, Cristina
Nutrition Research Reviews, 29(2) (pp. 194-201)

Dietary Patterns and Their Socioeconomic and Behavioral Determinants in 6- to 8-Year-Old Portuguese Children (2016)
Rodrigues, Daniela; Muc, Magdalena; Rodrigues, PRM; Pinto, A Mota and Padez, Cristina
Ecology of food and nutrition, 55(5) (pp. 428-441)

Influence of physical activity on the association between the FTO variant rs9939609 and adiposity in young adults (2015-09)
Muc, Magdalena; Padez, Cristina and Manco, Lic\'\inio
American Journal of Human Biology, 27(5) (pp. 734-738)

Maternal fatty acid desaturase genotype correlates with infant immune responses at 6 months (2015)
Muc, Magdalena; Kreiner-Møller, Eskil; Larsen, Jeppe M.; Birch, Sune; Brix, Susanne; Bisgaard, Hans and Lauritzen, Lotte
British Journal of Nutrition, 114(6) (pp. 891-898)

Prevalence of asthma and rhinitis symptoms among children living in Coimbra, Portugal | Prevalência dos sintomas de asma e rinite nas crianças a viver em Coimbra, Portugal (2014-07)
Muc, Magdalena; Mota-Pinto, Anabela and Padez, Cristina
Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia, 20(4) (pp. 208-210)

Leptin and resistin in overweight patients with and without asthma (2014)
Muc, M.; Todo-Bom, A.; Mota-Pinto, A.; Vale-Pereira, S. and Loureiro, C.
Allergologia et Immunopathologia, 42(5) (pp. 415-421)

Prevalence and correlates of allergic diseases among children (2008-12)
Pawlinska-Chmara, R; Wronka, and Muc, M
Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 59(Suppl 6) (pp. 549-556)

Exposure to Paracetamol and Antibiotics in Early Life and Elevated Risk of Asthma in Childhood (2013-07-22)
Muc, M.; Padez, C. and Mota Pinto, A.
In: Pokorski, Mieczyslaw ed. Neurobiology of Respiration. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (pp. 393-400)
ISBN : 978-94-007-6626-6 | Publisher : Springer Dordrecht