Healthy lifestyles in children

Examining the implementation of healthy lifestyle programmes in children and young people.

Despite the benefits of being physically active and eating a healthy diet, most young people do not achieve the minimum recommended levels of physical activity or eat sufficient fruit and vegetables each day.

Our cutting-edge and innovative research focuses on developing and evaluating the implementation, effectiveness and scale-out of evidence-based healthy lifestyle programmes in young people.

Our team is internationally renowned and have contributed to developing national policies and recommendations.

Theme lead

Lauren Sherar

Professor Lauren Sherar

Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health

Research spotlights


  • Large JFMadigan CD, Pradeilles R, Markey O, Boxer B and Rousham EK. Impact of unhealthy food and beverage consumption on children’s risk of dental caries: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews, 2023. DOI:

  • McLeod CJ, Haycraft E, Daley AJ. Offering vegetables to children at breakfast time in nursery and kindergarten settings: the Veggie Brek feasibility and acceptability cluster randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2023. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-023-01443-z


  • McLeod CJ, Haycraft E, Daley AJ. Would offering vegetables to children for breakfast increase their total daily vegetable intake? Public Health Nutr. 2022. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980022002002

  • Pearson N, Griffiths P, van Sluijs E, Atkin AJ, Khunti K, Sherar LB. Associations between socio-economic position and young people’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the United Kingdom: A scoping review. BMJ Open. 2022. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051736

  • Kontostoli E, Jones AP, Pearson N, Foley L, Biddle SJH, and Atkin AJ. The Association of Contemporary Screen Behaviours with Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep in Adolescents: a Cross sectional Analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2022. DOI: 10.1007/s12529-022-10077-7

  • Ikeda E, Guagliano JM, Atkin AJ, Sherar LB, Ekelund U, Hansen B, Northstone K, van Sluijs E. International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD) Collaborators. Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of active travel, organised sport and physical education with accelerometer-assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in young people: the International Children's Accelerometry Database. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2022. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-022-01282-4

  • Gammon C, Atkin AJ, Corder K, Ekelund U, Hansen BH, Sherar LB, Andersen LB, Anderssen S, Davey R, Hallal PC, Jago R, Kriemler S, Kristensen PL, Kwon S, Northstone K, Pate R, Salmon JO, Sardinha LB, VAN Sluijs EMF. International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD) Collaborators. Influence of Guideline Operationalization on Youth Activity Prevalence in the International Children's Accelerometry Database. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2022. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002884


  • Kontostoli E, Jones AP, Pearson N, Foley L, Biddle SJH, Atkin AJ. Age-related change in sedentary behavior during childhood and adolescence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews. 2021. DOI: 10.1111/obr.13263

  • Chen Y-L, Tolfrey K, Pearson N, Bingham D, Edwardson C, Cale L, Dunston D, Barber SE, Clemes SA. Stand Out in Class: Investigating the Potential Impact of a Sit-Stand Desk Intervention on Children's Sitting and Physical Activity during Class Time and after School. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18094759


  • Pearson N, Biddle SJH, Griffiths P, Sherar LB, McGeorge S, Haycraft E. Reducing screen-time and unhealthy snacking in 9-11 year old children: the Kids FIRST pilot randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 20 (122). 2020. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-8232-9
  • International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD). Led by Lauren Sherar (in collaboration with Cambridge University and Norwegian School of Sport Sciences).
  • Veggie Brek: Increasing vegetable consumption in children. Led by Chris McLeod.
  • Understanding the barriers to physical activity for children and young people with epilepsy. Funded by the Waterloo Foundation. Led by Lauren Sherar (the PI institution UCL).
  • Understanding the barriers and facilitators to using accelerometry to collect physical activity data on children and young people in low to middle income countries. Funded by Research England. Led by Lauren Sherar.
  • The acceptability and usefulness of physical activity calorie equivalent food labelling in young people. Funded by UKRI/ESRC. Led by Natalia Iris.