Chris is an academic, chartered psychologist, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with an expertise in behavioural nutrition and public health. He is currently the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Learning & Teaching in the School, the Chair of the University’s LGBT+ Staff Network, and an invited member of the School’s Human Resources Advisory Group.
Chris has been at Loughborough University since 2016, completing his MSc in Sport & Exercise Nutrition in 2017, and his PhD in psychology (eating behaviour) in 2020. Since then he has undertaken roles in the School as a University Teacher in Psychology, Research Associate and as a Doctoral Prize Fellow, a highly-competitive personal award for early-career academics to establish their own ambitious research agenda and position themselves as future research leaders.
Chris’s research combines his expertise in psychology, nutrition, physiology, and population studies (from his undergraduate master’s degree in Human Geography which he completed at the University of St Andrews in 2012) to explore behavioural nutrition public-health interventions with a focus on improving the nutrition, health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations.
Chris’s research expertise is in behavioural nutrition and public health. Specifically, his work aims to improve the nutrition, health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations – such as older adults, the infirm, people with disabilities, and children – by translating experimental psychology research into public-health interventions.
Drawing on his academic backgrounds in psychology, nutrition, physiology, and population studies, Chris adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling public-health nutrition problems and improving population health. This background also allows him to bring a mixed-methods skillset to research teams, with experience in experimental laboratory research, field studies, online questionnaires, interviews, feasibility trials, and public-health randomised controlled trials with process evaluation.
Chris’s research engenders collaborations across different disciplines and institutions, both nationally and internationally. He is a member of the British Psychological Society, the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine, the British Feeding and Drinking Group, the British Academy Early-Career Researcher Network, and the Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour at Loughborough University.
Selected recent research projects and sources of funding
- SPOONful: exploring the feasibility and acceptability of a Structured Prescription Of Oral Nutritional supplementation for malnourished older adults. Funded by the UKRI (BBSRC/MRC) Food4Years Network (2022-present). Role: Primary Investigator. Co-Is: Prof Marion Hetherington, Dr Jason Thomas, Dr Lewis James.
- CURTAIN: exploring the Clinical Use of Reminiscence Theatre with older Adults in care to Improve Nutrition. Funded by the Rosetrees Trust and the Stoneygate Trust (2023-present). Role: Primary Investigator. Co-Is: Dr Catherine Rees, Dr David Maidment.
- Veggie Brek: exploring whether offering vegetables to children at breakfast time increases children’s willingness to eat vegetables for breakfast. Funded by the NIHR Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour, NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, and Loughborough University via CM’s Doctoral Prize Fellowship (2021-present). Role: Joint Primary Investigator. Co-Is: Prof Emma Haycraft, Prof Amanda Daley.
- HEAR ME!: exploring the impact of hearing loss on nutrition and the mealtime experience. Role: Co-investigator. Co-Is: Dr David Maidment (PI), Dr Hannah White.
- MindFast: exploring the use of psychological techniques in fasting-normative cultures to improve adherence to health-related fasting. Role: Primary Investigator. Co-Is: Dr Keith Tolfrey, Dr David Clayton.
Research, scholarship and impact
Having run his own business before arriving at Loughborough, Chris brings his entrepreneurial expertise to all academic activities. He engages with various external stakeholders to disseminate research and scholarship, and to deliver tangible impact to local, national and international communities. His external collaborations and impact work come in the form of workshops, podcasts, articles/blogs, media activity, and resource design. External stakeholders to date include Cambridge University Press and Assessment, Nutricia (Danone), the British Nutrition Foundation, Obesity UK, the Prince’s Teaching Institute, Equality Action, Royal Air Forces Association, the Association of British Insurers, Everyone Active and Loughborough Students’ Union. He has also worked with Loughborough University colleagues on various projects, such as the Veterans’ Resilience Programme, the Experts in Sport podcast, the development of the Elite Athlete Centre, the Widening Participation Scheme and via various healthy-eating workshops delivered to different groups across the University.
Chris also co-founded the British Feeding and Drinking Group (BFDG) Early-Career Researcher Network in 2020 and chaired the organising committee for the 2022 BFDG conference. He has presented at numerous national/international conferences and delivered invited talks at various universities and research groups.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
Chris has significant experience and expertise in EDI in Higher Education, delivering meaningful change to marginalised communities, and university structures and processes, over the last seven years. He is currently the Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network at the University and the EDI lead for Learning and Teaching Committee in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, as well as being an invited member of the School’s Human Resources Advisory Group. His EDI work over the years has received recognition, such as through a Loughborough Experience Award (2018), an Outstanding Contribution Award from Loughborough Students’ Union (2020), an Extra-Mile Award from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (2022), a short-listed position for the Vice-Chancellor’s Award (2022) as well as being part of the LGBT+ team that won a National Societies Award (2017) for welfare and inclusivity work on the Loughborough University East Midlands campus.
- McLeod, C. J., Haycraft, E. H. & Daley, A. J. (in press ). 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.
- Fenton, J. M., King, J. A., McLeod, C. J., Hoekstra, S. P., Finlayson, G. & Goosey-Tolfrey, V. L. (2023). A comparison of meal-related appetite, food reward and eating behaviour traits in people with and without spinal cord injury. Appetite, 181, 106384. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.106384
- McLeod, C. J., Haycraft, E. & Daley, A. J. (2022). Would offering vegetables to children for breakfast increase their total daily vegetable intake? Public Health Nutrition. 1-11. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980022002002
- McLeod, C. J., James, L. J. & Witcomb, G. L. (2022). Portions selected to stave off hunger are reduced when food is presented in an ‘unusual’ food-to-mealtime context: an implication for implicit satiety drivers. Appetite, 178, 106275. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.106275
- McLeod, C. J., Mycock, G. W., Twells, A., James, L. J., Brunstrom, J. M. & Witcomb, G. L. (2022). Current appetite influences relative differences in the expected satiety of foods for momentary, but not hypothetical, expected satiety assessments. Appetite, 178, 106159. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.106159
- McLeod, C. J., James, L. J., Brunstrom, J. M., & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). The influence of expected satiety on portion size selection is reduced when food is presented in an ‘unusual’ meal context. Appetite, 147, 104550. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104550
- McLeod, C. J., James, L. J., & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). Eating rate and food intake are reduced when a food is presented in an ‘unusual’ meal context. Appetite, 104799. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.104799
- McLeod, C. J., James, L. J., & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). Food-to-mealtime associations influence food selection in a UK-based sample. Archives of Nutrition and Food Science, 1(1), 15-19. DOI: 10.46439/nutrition.1.004
- Barutcu, A., Taylor, S. McLeod, C. J., Witcomb, G. L. & James, L. J. (2020). Planned aerobic exercise increases energy intake at the preceding meal. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 52(4), 968-975. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002199