School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Life-course determinants of health and wellbeing

Our work in this research area focuses on life-course determinants of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, nutrition and health and wellbeing in a global context.

All stages of the life course are studied from early foetal, infant and childhood growth through to diseases associated with older age including osteoporosis and dementia.

Staff aligned to this research area:

Recent projects:

MINA Project and associated activities

Loughborough University Contributors: Barry Bogin, Katherine Brooke Wavell, Diane Harper

Project Description

MINA addresses ageing, migration, and nutrition across two generations of Bangladeshi women.

The Bangladeshi population is one of the fastest growing ethnic groups within the UK, and are amongst the most socially disadvantaged. They have poorer self-reported and measured health status indicated by higher rates of disability, centralised obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Older Bangladeshi women are particularly affected as they play a lead role in caretaking for multiple generations within relatively large extended families and many struggle to cope with the complex challenges of ageing, poverty, racism, and social exclusion. Following on from the work of the MINA project we have been studying factors influencing bone strength in Bangladeshi mothers and daughters. Osteoporosis causes an indigenous British woman aged 50 years to have a 1 in 2 lifetime risk of bone fracture.  Less information exists on bone health in ethnic minority groups despite their comprising 14% of the UK population.  This study measures bone strength from ultrasound and DXA measurements of the skeleton in Bangladeshi mothers and daughters living in the UK (Cardiff and Loughborough).

Collaborators: Public health nutrition and exercise (Janice Thompson, Bristol), public health nursing (Joy Merrell, Swansea), health psychology (Petra Meier, Sheffield), ethnobotany (Michael Heinrich, London), environmental and media design (Vanja Garaj, Brunel), migration and social anthropology (Katy Gardner, Sussex), and social gerontology (Christina Victor, Reading). Additional MINA partners include researchers at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh and the NGO Jubo Academy. and local UK Black and minority ethnic (BME) organisations.

Funder: 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.


Born in Bradford

Loughborough University Contributors:Professor Noël Cameron, and Drs Emily Petherick, Paula Griffiths, Stacy Clemes, Lauren Sherar, Emily Rousham and Dale Esliger

Project Description

Born in Bradford (BiB) is a birth cohort study involving over 14,000 families from all cultures and backgrounds within a largely South Asian and White British demographic. The aim of the study is to find out more about childhood illness by tracking the babies of these families who were born between March 2007 and April 2011. 

Bradford has some of the highest rates of childhood illness in the UK. Born in Bradford is not only helping to unravel the reasons for this ill health through new scientific discovery but is also providing a catalyst for communities to work with the NHS and local authority to improve child health and wellbeing in the city. 

Within BiB members of the SSEHS have investigated ethnic differences in fetal and infant growth, the habitual physical activity of toddlers, the effect of exposure to air pollution on birth weight and subsequent growth and adiposity as well risk factors for the development of obesity, asthma and allergies. 

Collaborators: From Born in Bradford Prof John Wright, Dr Jane West, Dr Rosie McEachan and Dr Sally Barber

Other collaborators include Prof Debbie Lawlor, Prof Kate Tilling and Dr Laura Howe from the University of Bristol, Prof Raj Bhopal from the University of Edinburgh and Prof Kate Pickett and Dr Stephanie Prady from the University of York.

Funding: Major funding comes from NIHR and MRC.