Behaviour change strategies
Our work in this research area focuses on the design, delivery, evaluation and translation of lifestyle interventions (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and nutrition) which are fundamental to public health and preventive medicine.
We collaborate closely with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) in this research area
Staff aligned to this research area:
Loughborough University collaborators: Cheryl Haslam, Ricardo Twumasi, Roger Haslam (Design School) and Colm Watling (Enterprise Office).
Walking Works Wonders was developed within a Loughborough University five year research project led by Professor Cheryl Haslam entitled: Working Late: strategies to enhance productive and healthy environments for the older workforce.
Sedentary behaviour is a modern epidemic with increasing numbers of people employed in sedentary occupations. This is a major public health concern, as prolonged sitting is a known risk factor for a wide range of chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Professor Cheryl Haslam and her team developed an innovative intervention to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour at work. Walking Works Wonders involves tailoring health information to employees’ attitudes. The approach recognises that when attempting to change behaviour, one size does not fit all and success is greater when interventions align with peoples’ beliefs.
Walking Works Wonders was evaluated over a 2 year period in 10 worksites with 1120 participants across the UK and was shown to be highly beneficial for employees and their organisations. The benefits for employees included: weight loss, improved health and well-being. The benefits for organisations included: reduced sickness absence, increased productivity and improved staff morale. The service is now being rolled out across businesses of all sizes, and a franchisee network is being created to deliver the service nationally.
Collaborators: Myanna Duncan (Kings College London) and Aadil Kazi (Leicester Diabetes Centre, Leicester General Hospital)
Funder: Working Late was funded by the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme (NDA), a seven year multidisciplinary research initiative and collaboration between the five UK Research Councils - ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC and AHRC.
Weblinks: www.walkingworkswonders.com and
Kids FIRST: Development and Feasibility of a Family-based Intervention to Reduce Snacking and Screen Time in Children
Loughborough University Collaborators: Natalie Pearson, Emma Haycraft, Paula Griffiths, Sonia McGeorge, Stuart JH Biddle
Sedentary screen-based behaviours and unhealthy snacking pose a significant risk to children’s health. Research has identified each as an independent risk factor for poorer psychosocial and physical health but these behaviours often co-occur in children.
The kids FIRST project will:
1) explore reasons for the co-occurrence of these behaviours in children and identify potentially modifiable factors that could be targeted in family-based interventions to change children’s unhealthy screen time and snacking behaviours;
2) develop, pilot and evaluate a family-based intervention to reduce screen time and snacking. The intended outcome of this project will be a successful intervention which could be rolled out on a larger scale to reduce children’s sedentary screen time and snacking behaviours.
Funders: British Heart Foundation
Loughborough University contributors: Lauren Sherar, Dale Esliger, Dominic Malcolm, and Mick Steiner (also UHL).
The purpose of the study is to examine the physical, psychological and social factors that are related to physical activity and sedentary behaviours (such as watching television) on respiratory health in patients diagnosed and not diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We hope that the findings of this study will enable a greater understanding of COPD and inform strategies to improve respiratory health.
Collaborators: Myra Nimmo (Birmingham University) and Mike Morgan (UHL)
Funders: Department of Health
Outputs: Discordant symptom severity in COPD: The PHAROAH study, Normative Values for the Incremental Shuttle Walk Test in a Healthy UK South Asian Population, and Parental smoking, childhood household living conditions and adult respiratory health: findings from a multi-ethnic UK sample