Professor Emeritus David McCarthy

Professor Emeritus David McCarthy was a Professor of Nutrition and Health at our School of Human Sciences, and the Head of our Public Health Nutrition Research Group. Professor McCarthy still teaches on some of our courses. 

Photograph of Professor David McCarthy.

Professor David McCarthy

David holds a BSc in Nutrition and a PhD in Biochemistry, where he investigated the central regulation of appetite and energy balance in obesity. Following a short research post on hypermetabolism in injury, he was appointed as a post-doctoral research fellow and honorary lecturer at the University of Liverpool where his research focused on cancer-associated anorexia and cachexia. He then moved to the University of Southampton as a Lecturer in Metabolic Nutrition in the Institute of Human Nutrition. Here, his research addressed the early life origins of obesity. He then moved to the University of North London (the precursor to London Metropolitan University) in 1995 where he initiated a nutrition research group, and the training of PhD students. He was promoted to Reader in Human Nutrition and then Professor of Nutrition and Health in 2008.

David re-aligned his nutrition research from basic science to applied human studies upon moving to London Met. In this time, he became a nationally recognised leader in the nutrition field for his work on body composition and obesity assessment and the development of national references for nutritional status in children. His pioneering growth charts are used both clinically and in public health settings across the UK and around the world. He also researched interventions for weight management as well as having research interests in calorimetry and menu nutrition labeling. He led the Public Health Nutrition and Food Microbiology Research Group in the School of Human Sciences.

David established the Human Nutrition - BSc (Hons) course in 1996, followed by the Human Nutrition - MSc (Hons) in 2001. Both courses are currently accredited by the Association for Nutrition.

Book chapters

McCarthy HD (2017) Assessment of nutritional status in public health settings’. Nutrition Society textbook series – Public Health Nutrition, 2nd ed.

Peer-reviewed papers (recent selected articles)

Berg A, & McCarthy HD (2022). A Soy-Yoghurt-Honey product as a therapeutic functional food: mode of action and narrative review. Heliyon 8 (11), E11011

González-García & McCarthy HD (2022). An evaluation of the association between anthropometric measurements and cardiorespiratory fitness using the Forest Service Step and the Ruffier-Dickson test. Medicina dello Sport 75 (3), 391-403.

Kempf K, Röhling M, Banzer W, Braumann KM, Halle M, Schaller N, McCarthy D, Predel
HG, Schenkenberger I, Tan S, et al. (2022). High-protein, low-glycaemic meal replacement improves physical health-related quality of life in high-risk persons for metabolic syndrome—a sub-analysis of the randomised-controlled ACOORH Trial. Nutrients 14, 3161.

Kempf K, Röhling M, Banzer W, Braumann KM, Halle M, Schaller N, McCarthy D, Predel
HG, Schenkenberger I, Tan S, Toplak H, Martin S, Berg A (2022). Early and strong leptin reduction is predictive for long-term weight loss during high-protein, low-glycaemic meal replacement - a sub-analysis of the randomised-controlled ACOORH trial. Nutrients 14 (12), 2537;

Röhling M, Kempf K, Banzer W, Braumann KM, Halle M, Martin S, McCarthy D, Scholze J, Führer-Sakel D, Toplak H, Berg A, Predel HG (2022). A High-Protein, Low-Glycemic and Moderate-Caloric Formula Diet Improves Blood pressure and Other Hemodynamic Parameters more than a Lifestyle Intervention Alone in High-Risk Individuals with Overweight or Obesity – the ACOORH Trial. Nutrients 14, (7), 1443;

Rohling M, McCarthy D & Berg A (2021). Continuous Protein Supplementation Reduces Acute Exercise-Induced Stress Markers in Athletes Performing Marathon. Nutrients, 13, (9), 2929

Lessons, GR, Bhakta D & McCarthy HD (2021). Development of muscle mass and body fat reference curves for UK firefighters. Int Arch Occupat and Environ Health

McCarthy HD, & Berg A. (2021). Weight loss strategies and the risk of skeletal muscle mass loss. Nutrients, 13, 2473. 10.3390/nu13072473).

Kempf K, Röhling M, Banzer W, Braumann KM, Halle M, McCarthy D, Predel HG, Schenkenberger I, Tan S, Toplak H, Berg A, Martin S (2021). High-protein, low-glycaemic meal replacement decreases fasting insulin and inflammation markers — a 12-month subanalysis of the ACOORH trial. Nutrients 13, (5), 1433;

Röhling M, Stensitzky A, Oliveira CLP, Beck A, Braumann KM, Halle M, Führer-Sakel D, Kempf K, McCarthy D, Predel HG, Schenkenberger I, Toplak H & Berg A (2021). Effects of a protein-rich, low-glycaemic meal replacement on changes in dietary intake and body weight following a weight-management intervention – the ACOORH trial. Nutrients 13, (2) 376.

Sadeghimakki R & McCarthy HD (2020) Respiratory function variability across body composition phenotypes in free-living UK adults: a cross sectional study. (Eur Resp J, submitted)

McLaren S, Steenkamp L, Rutishauser-Perera A & McCarthy HD (2020). Screening for overweight using mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) among children younger than two years in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. (South Afr J Clin Nutr, online June 2020).

Martin S & ACOORH study group (2020). Prediabetes conversion to normoglycemia is superior adding a low-carbohydrate formula diet to lifestyle intervention – a 12-month sub analysis of the ACOORH trial. Nutrients 12, 2022. doi:10.3390/nu12072022

Shah, M, Radia D & McCarthy HD (2020). Waist circumference percentile curves for UK children and youths of South Asian origin. Arch Dis Child 105, 80-85.

Sadeghimakki R & McCarthy HD (2019) Interactive effects of adiposity and insulin resistance on the impaired lung function in asthmatic adults: cross-sectional analysis of NHANES data. Ann Hum Biol, 46, 56-62.

Koohkan S, McCarthy HD, Berg A (2018). Benefits of Physical Activity in Weight Reduction - Therapeutic Approaches from a Metabolic and Energetic Point of View: A Systematic Review. Phys Med Rehab Int. 5, 1136.

Berg A, McCarthy HD & Koohkan, S (2017). The effect of a soy-yoghurt-honey product on overweight, obesity and related health risk factors - a review. J Nutr Health & Food Sci 5, 1-10. DOI:

Morrison S, Mahaffey R & McCarthy HD (2018). Associations between obesity and paediatric foot dimensions. J Amer Podiat Med Assoc, 108, 5, 383-389.

Koohkan S, Golesorkhi M, Vitolins MZ, McCarthy HD, Deibert P, König D & Berg A (2016) The Influence of a Meal Replacement Formula on Leptin Regulation in Obese Adults. J Nutr Health & Food Sci 4 (4): 1-5. DOI: jnhfs.2016.00169

McCarthy HD (2014). Measuring growth and obesity across childhood and adolescence, Proc Nutr Soc 73, 210-217.

Koohkan S, Golsorkhi M, Schaffner D, Konig D, Deibert P, McCarthy HD & Berg A (2014). Effect of Different Isoenergetic Breakfast Compositions on Blood Glucose Regulation, Energy Allocation and Satiety. J Nutritional Health & Food Science 2, (4) (open access journal).

McCarthy HD, Jebb SA & Prentice AM (2014). Skeletal muscle mass reference curves for children and adolescents. Ped Obesity 9, 249-259. 

Navti L, Samani-Radia D & McCarthy HD (2014) Children’s body fatness and prevalence of obesity in relation to height for age. Ann Human Biol. 41, 84-90.

2015-2018 – ACCORH study (150k euros). Evaluation of a meal replacement product in weight loss (UK Principal Investigator)

2012-2014 – AMDIT study (185k euros). Almased Multi-Centre Diabetes Intervention Trial (UK principal investigator)

Outside of London Met, David’s professional activities included his role on the Course Accreditation Committee and Professional Affairs Committee of the Association for Nutrition. He also served as a member of Council of The Nutrition Society and has been an active member of the Association for the Study of Obesity for over 30 years. He has acted as external examiner for a number of BSc and MSc courses and PhD students across the UK as well as overseas.

David has provided on screen and on-air expertise on a number of TV and radio programmes as well as being a regular contributor in the press.

He was invited by the World Health Organisation and Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations to advise an expert group who are currently updating nutrient requirements for children aged 0 – 36 months. He offered his particular expertise on paediatric body composition. WHO is responsible for international public health, with its objective of the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. By WHO seeking his expertise, this is a recognition of the global importance of the nutrition research conducted at London Met.

David is one of two professors in the School of Human Sciences selected as an impact case study for the REF2021 submission. He also performed this role in the 2014 and 2008 REF submissions.

Prof. H. David McCarthy
Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Health
School of Human Sciences