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.

Theme lead

Kajal Gokal

Dr Kajal Gokal

Senior Research Associate (Snacktivity)

Research spotlights


  • 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

  • Biddle GJH, Thomas N, Edwardson CL, Clemes SA, Daley AJ. The views of general practitioners about using sit-stand desks: An observational study. BJGP Open. 2022. DOI: 10.3399/BJGPO.2021.0203

  • 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.


  • Oakley-Girvan I, Watterson JL, Jones C, Houghton LC, Gibbons MP, Gokal K, & Magsamen-Conrad K. Use of Social Media for Cancer Prevention Through Neighborhood Social Cohesion: Protocol for a Feasibility Study. JMIR research protocols, 2021. DOI: 10.2196/28147



  • Tyldesley‑Marshall N, Greenfield SM, Parretti HM, Gokal K, Greaves C, Jolly K, Maddison R, Daley AJ, Snacktivity™ Study Team. Snacktivity™ to promote physical activity: A qualitative study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2021. DOI 10.1007/s12529-021-10040-y
  • Houghton LC, Gibbons MP, Shekelle J, Oakley-Girvan I, Watterson JL, Magsamen-Conrad K, Jones C, Gokal K. Free Time For Wellness: a co-designed intervention utilizing social networks to encourage physical activity for cancer prevention among low resourced mothers. BMC Public Health, 2021. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-021-11775-9

  • Sanders JP, Biddle SJ, Gokal K, Sherar LB, Skrybant M., Parretti HM, Ives N, Yates T, Mutrie N, Daley AJ and Snacktivity Study Team, 2021. ‘Snacktivity™’to increase physical activity: Time to try something different?. Preventive Medicine, 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106851

  • Kettle VE, Hamer M, Munir F, Houdmont J, Wilson K, Kerr R, Addley K, Sherar LB, Clemes SA, Cross-sectional associations between domain-specific sitting time and other lifestyle health behaviours: the Stormont study, Journal of Public Health. 2021. DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdab298

  • Daley AJ, Bleich SN. Should physical activity calorie equivalent (PACE) labelling be introduced on food labels and menus to reduce excessive calorie consumption? Issues and opportunities. Preventive Medicine. 2021.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106813 

  • Graham HE, Madigan CD, Daley AJ. Is a small change approach for weight management effective? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obesity Reviews 2021. DOI: 10.1111/obr.13357 

  • Madigan CD, Fong M, Howick J, Kettle V, Rouse P, Hamilton L, Roberts N, Gomersall SR, Daley AJ. Effectiveness of interventions to maintain physical activity behavior (device-measured): Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obesity Reviews 2021; e13304. DOI: 10.1111/obr.13304


  • Daley AJ, McGee E, Bayliss S, Coombe A, Parretti HM. Effects of physical activity calorie equivalent food labelling to reduce food selection and consumption: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2020;74:269-275. DOI: 10.1136/jech-2019-213216

  • Piernas C, Aveyard P, Lee C, Tsiountsioura M, Noreik M, Astbury NM, Oke J, Madigan C, Jebb SA. Evaluation of an intervention to provide brief support and personalized feedback on food shopping to reduce saturated fat intake (PC-SHOP): A randomized controlled trial. PLoS Med. 2020;17(11):e1003385. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003385

  • McLeod CJ, James LJ, Brunstrom JM, & Witcomb GL. The influence of expected satiety on portion size selection is reduced when food is presented in an ‘unusual’ meal context. Appetite 2020;147, 104550. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104550

  • McLeod CJ, James LJ & Witcomb GL. Food-to-mealtime associations influence food selection in a UK-based sample. Arch Nutri Food Sci, 2020 1(1), 15-19. DOI: 10.46439/nutrition.1.00

Weight management in primary care

Sedentary behaviour and unhealthy lifestyle habits

Can a Snacktivity approach to physical activity reduce future risk of disease?

GPs to trial standing desks to encourage physical activity

Three ways behavioural psychology can help you lose weight

  • 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.