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Loughborough joins global consortium tackling physical inactivity and unhealthy diets of adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Generation H project, funded via a £3 million Euro grant, will focus on improving physical inactivity and unhealthy diets among adolescents, in diverse socio-economic urban settings in Ghana (Greater Accra region) and Kenya (Nairobi), to reduce the risk of them developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in adulthood.

Colorful fruits and vegetables colorfully arranged at a local fruit and vegetable market in Nairobi, Kenya

A local fruit and vegetable market in Nairobi, Kenya. Image sourced from Getty.

NCDs, such as heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes, are the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 41 million deaths per year, which is equivalent to 74% of all deaths globally. They also disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries.*

The multi-intervention project will harness the collective expertise of the consortium members, to deliver educational programmes, community engagement initiatives, policy advocacy, and collaborations with educational, faith-based, and healthcare institutions, to reduce unhealthy diets and physical inactivity, and their underlying social determinants.

Professor Lauren Sherar, Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health within Loughborough’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, commented:

“The shift from communicable to non-communicable diseases is a growing health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. Adolescence is a critical window for the development of lifestyle behaviours linked to these diseases. While there have been some previous efforts surrounding nutrition interventions, very little has focused on physical inactivity even though it is a leading risk factor for NCDs. Our Generation H project will design and evaluate a programme that focuses on both important lifestyle factors."

In addition to Loughborough University, members of the consortium include the Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC), the University of Ghana, the African Population and Health Research Center, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development, and the Belgian Public Health Institute, Sciensano.

Working in partnership with organisations such as Ghana Health Service (GHS), Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), and the Coalition of Actors for Public Health Advocacy (CAPHA), the project will design, deploy, and evaluate interventions that are mapped on to the WHO Best Buys, a menu of policy options and cost-effective interventions for the prevention and control of major non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

All interventions will be meticulously designed to resonate with the distinct cultural nuances and challenges prevalent in East and West Africa.

Professor Paula Griffiths, a Professor of Population Health at Loughborough University, commented:

‘’We are proud to be part of this international consortia that embraces co-design, implementation and participatory approaches to consider the unique cultures and environments of adolescents living in Nairobi and Ghana. Designing for cultures and environments is essential for uptake and sustainability of these types of lifestyle targeted public health programmes. We are delighted to be creating better futures. Together."

The Generation H project is being funded by the European Union, Horizon & UKRI, and will run for four years, following its initial launch in January 2024.

Visit the Generation H Project website.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 24/39

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme and named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2024, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 10th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.


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