Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health


Dr Anniza de Villiers

Senior Scientist, Non-communicable Diseases Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council Tygerberg, South Africa

Dr de Villiers holds a PhD in Dietetics from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and currently works as a senior scientist at the Non-communicable Diseases Research Unit at the South African Medical Council in Cape Town. Her previous work experience has been mainly working in the public sector health care service as a dietitian and teaching at various tertiary education institutions in South Africa.

At the Medical Research Council she has been involved in various projects, such as coordinating the second National Food Consumption Survey in the Western Cape Province and acting as the project manager of a programme that aimed to develop, implement and assess the effectiveness of a school-based intervention programme that promotes the uptake and adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviours (healthy eating and optimal physical activity) for the prevention of risk factors for the development of diabetes in children, their parents and their teachers in disadvantaged communities.

Other projects that Dr de Villiers is involved with are: (1) qualitative research aiming to provide information on the commonly consumed foods, existing food preferences and the affordable, healthy food options available and acceptable to lower socioeconomic communities in South Africa; (2) a study that looked at the feasibility of implementing the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines into the primary school curriculum; and (3) the South African Healthy Active Kids report card initiative. She also coordinates a project assessing the noncommunicable diseases status of, and risk factors present, in HIV-positive individuals.

Dr de Villiers currently supervises postgraduate students from the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape. These students include four PhD candidates and one Master of Public Health student. The research focuses of these students are either related to healthy school environments or noncommunicable diseases risk prevention.