Stunting, short stature, and cardiovascular health PhD

Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Entry requirements:
3 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
1 October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
30 June 2018



in the world for sport-related subjects

QS World University Rankings by subject 2017


in the UK for Sports Science

The Complete University Guide 2018


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

Very short stature-for-age, or stunting, is an indicator of chronic undernutrition and, if not curbed early in life, will leave permanent and damaging physical, cognitive, and developmental traits. The impact of growth stunting on cardiovascular health of children, and its repercussions in adulthood, needs to be established. Stunted children, besides lacking in height, also lack in muscle mass, energy expenditure efficiency, work capacity, cognitive abilities, and show compromised brain structure and function. They will, most likely, become stunted adults with a higher risk for overweight and non-communicable diseases. Existing research on cardiovascular health and stunting only focus on: i) stunting as a result of heart conditions detected prenatally/at birth, or ii) stunting as a precursor of type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and hypercholesterolemia. These are proxies of cardiometabolic health but we need to ascertain how stunting affects the heart and vascular structures and function.

Aims: i) to assess and quantify the effects of growth stunting on the cardiovascular health; ii) to investigate how stunting in childhood affects cardiovascular health in adulthood; iii) to investigate the intergenerational (matrilineal) effects of stunting on the cardiovascular health of the children.

This projects will focus on stunted populations in Latin America, therefore, verbal and written fluency in Spanish is desirable. Fieldwork, during the 2nd year of studies, will be required either in Mexico and/or Guatemala.


Primary supervisor: Dr Ines Varela-Silva

Secondary supervisor: Dr Emma O'Donnel

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Ines Varela-Silva or register your interest and ask us a question.

Further information about the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences can be found on our website.

Links to find out more:

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Human Biology, Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Cardiovascular Health, Physical Activity and Health or related areas.

A relevant Master's degree and / or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage:

  • Fluent in Spanish (desirable but not compulsory)
  • Quantitative Methods (desirable but not compulsory)

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Please quote reference number: SSEHS/IVS