Prevention and treatment of chronic diseases

Testing physical activity and weight management interventions to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

Most of the population are overweight, do not complete enough physical activity each week and sit for long periods every day, which increases the risk of developing non-communicable diseases and dying prematurely. Our focus is to save as many lives as possible through our pioneering world class research.

We are conducting world leading research that is testing health behaviour interventions to prevent and mange diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and mental illness.

Yorkshire Cancer Research - Active Together: the benefits of exercise for people with cancer

Theme lead

Kajal Gokal

Dr Kajal Gokal

Senior Research Associate (Snacktivity)

Research spotlights


  • Biddle GJH, Thomas N, Edwardson CL, Clemes SA, Daley AJ. Feasibility and acceptability of general practitioners using sit–stand desks: a feasibility trial. BMJ Open. 2024. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2024-084085.

  • Biddle GJH, Thomas N, Edwardson CL, Clemes SA, Daley AJ. Burnout, psychological wellbeing and musculoskeletal complaints in general practitioners. BJGP Open. 2023. DOI: 10.3399/BJGPO.2023.0007.

  • Gokal K, Daley AJ, Madigan CD. "Fear of raising the problem without a solution": a qualitative study of patients' and healthcare professionals' views regarding the integration of routine support for physical activity within breast cancer care. Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. 2024. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-023-08293-2.


  • Krouwel M, Greenfield SM, Chalkley A, Sanders JP, Parretti HM, Gokal K, Jolly K, Skrybant M, Biddle SJH, Greaves C, Maddison R, Mutrie N, Ives N, Esliger DW, Sherar L, Edwardson CL, Yates T, Frew E, Tearne S, Daley AJ. Promoting participation in physical activity through Snacktivity: A qualitative mixed methods study. PLoS One. 2023. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0291040.

  • Langworthy E, Gokal K, Kettle VEDaley A. Effects of physical activity interventions on physical activity and health outcomes in young people during treatment for cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2023. DOI: 10.1136/bmjsem-2022-001466.

  • Madigan CD, Hill AJ, Caterson ID, Burk J, Hendy C, Chalkley A. A Qualitative Process Evaluation of Participant Experiences in a Feasibility Randomised Controlled Trial to Reduce Indulgent Foods and Beverages. Nutrients, 2023. DOI: 10.3390/nu15061389.

  • Fong M, Kaner E, Rowland M, Graham HE, McEvoy L, Hallsworth K, Cucato G, Gibney C, Nedkova M, Prentis J, Madigan CD. The effect of preoperative behaviour change interventions on pre- and post-surgery health behaviours, health outcomes, and health inequalities in adults: A systematic review and meta-analyses. PLoS One, 2023. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0286757.


  • Howick J, Koletsi D, Ioannidis JPA, Madigan CD, Pandis N, Loef M, Walach H, Sauer S, Kleijnen J, Seehra J, Johnson T, Schmidt S. Most healthcare interventions tested in Cochrane Reviews are not effective according to high quality evidence: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Epidemiol, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2022.04.017.

  • Madigan CD, Graham H, Sturgiss E, Kettle V, Gokal K, Biddle GJH, Daley AJ. Effectiveness of weight management interventions in adults delivered by primary care practitioners: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 2022. DOI: 10.1136/bmj-2021-069719.

  • Gokal K, Amos-Hirst R, Moakes CA et al. Views of the public about Snacktivity™: a small changes approach to promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour. BMC Public Health. 2022. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-022-13050-x.

  • Kettle V, Madigan CDCoombe A, Graham HThomas JJCChalkley AE, Daley AJEffectiveness of physical activity interventions delivered or prompted by health professionals in primary care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. The BMJ. 2022. DOI: 10.1136/bmj-2021-068465.

  • Milton K, Poole K, Cross A, Gasson S, Gokal K, Lyons K, Pulsford R, Jones A. 'People don't get cancer, families do': Co-development of a social physical activity intervention for people recently affected by a cancer diagnosis. European journal of cancer care. 2022.

  • Snacktivity™ to promote physical activity. Funded by NIHR. Led by Amanda Daley.
  • Integrating physical activity into routine cancer care. Led by Kajal Gokal.
  • The effectiveness of the small change approach for weight management. Led by Henrietta Graham.