Professor Griffiths gained her PhD in the Department of Social Statistics at the University of Southampton in 1999. Paula then spent two years at the University of North Carolina, undertaking a postdoctoral fellowship examining the nutrition transition in India. In 2002, she came to the Department of Human Sciences at Loughborough University, and moved to the new School of Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences in 2009.

Paula Griffiths is Professor of Population Health (0.8 FTE) and leads Loughborough University’s (LU) global research challenge in health and wellbeing. She is also honorary Professor in the School of Clinical Medicine, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her research focuses on inequalities in maternal and child health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries and community strategies to reduce these.  As a Social Scientist she brings expertise to global development projects that facilitates the understanding of the social contexts in which people live and how these influence their behaviours and uptake of interventions designed to improve nutrition and health in populations living in resource poor settings. Griffiths has shared these skills with 15 completed PhD students (over 50% international students) during her career as well as mentoring early career postdocs through training fellowships and sponsoring mid-career scientists in Leadership Programmes. She also co-chairs The Wellcome Trust International Committee.

Paula's current collaborative research projects investigate:

  • Support for early child development in Maasai communities (Kenya – British Academy funded)
  • Urban maternal and child nutrition (Asia – funded through DIKODA)
  • Scaling up the baby friendly community initiative (Kenya, Malawi and Uganda -  NIHR funded)
  • Effect of the COVID-crisis on household food security and nutrition of infants and young children on low income urban communities (Peru – UKRI funded – Led by Dr Emily Rousham)
  • New Strategies to reduce anaemia and overweight/ obesity among infants and young children (Peru – Newton Funded – Led by Dr Emily Rousham)
  • Community based intervention to reduce diarrhoea and stunting (Mali – MRC funded – Led by Dr Semira Manaseki-Holland at the University of Birmingham)
  • Digital solutions to maternal and child health problems (South Africa – UKRI funded – Led by Dr Nervo Verdezoto, Cardiff University and Dr Melissa Densmore University of Cape Town)

Recent collaborative research

  • Kenya-UK development award to support the design of a whole system approach to facilitate the functioning of the baby friendly community initiative (Kenya, Uganda and Malawi – NIHR funded)
  • UK-Africa network to improve the nutrition of infants and young children living in poverty (NINO LIP) (Kenya and Malawi – MRC funded)
  • Testing the Feasibility of Incorporating Support for Early Childhood Development into the Baby Friendly Community Initiative (Kenya – British Academy funded)
  • Vulnerability to Extreme Weather Events in Cities: Implications for Infrastructure and Livelihoods (Ghana – British Academy funded – Led by Professor Kate Gough, Geography)
  • A Scoping and Participatory Design Study of the Potential for ICTs to Improve Maternal Health (India – UKRI funded – Led by Dr Nervo Verdezoto, Leicester University)
  • Dietary transitions in African cities: leveraging evidence for interventions and policy to prevent diet related non-communicable diseases (Kenya and Ghana – Led by Professor Michelle Holdsworth, University of Sheffield)
  • Feasibility and effectiveness of the baby friendly community initiative (Kenya – Led by Dr Liz Kimani-Murage, APHRC, Kenya – funded by NIH//USAID through PEER health)

Current teaching

  • Module leader PSA604 Study Skills Research Design and Data Description
  • Module leader PSA701 Academic Skills and Data Description

External Awards

  • Rockefeller Foundation Food Systems Vision Prize 2020 (lead Dr Kimani Murage, APHRC)
  • British Academy Mid Career Fellowship (2012-2014)
  • Royal Society International joint project award with Dr. Balakrishna, NIN, India (2009-2011)
  • MRC career establishment award 2005-2010
  • Mellon postdoctoral fellowship (2000-2002)
  • ESRC PhD studentship (1995-1998)

Commercialisation of Research

  • Employed as a consultant to different industrial sponsors providing statistical expertise on the analysis of anthropometric data for clothing and hospital equipment design.

External Examiner

  • I have undertaken external examining duties for LSE - MSc. Population and Development and City University- MSc. Social Research Methods
  • I have also acted as external examiner for PhDs awarded to students from UK and South African universities

Invited Lecture / Keynotes

  • Griffiths, P. L. Invited plenary presentation at the SSHB conference on poverty and Human Biology in Lisbon, Portugal, Sep 2015 on my work on poverty maternal nutrition, infant birthweight and growth in rural Indian infants.
  • Griffiths, P. L. Invited presentation at a workshop entitled Health Economics and Financing: Achieving Equitable Results for Children organized by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for UNICEF country officers. Measuring Health Inequalities in South Africa. A Practical Example. 17th September, 2012.
  • Griffiths, P. L., Ginsburg, C., Madise, N. J., and Norris, S. A. Invited presentation. Measuring Socio-economic change in a transitioning environment. Associations with obesity using a case study from the urban Birth to Twenty cohort. Anthropology of Transition and Tradition. 33rd International Workshop on Anthropology and Health. sponsored by the Wenner Gren Foundation, Hvar, Croatia, Sep12th-15th 2012.
  • Researching health and wellbeing:  perspectives from human development. Invited presentation given at the Leisure, Health and Wellbeing meeting sponsored by the BSA and Brunel University, June 2011.

Journal Referee

  • Member of the Editorial Board Annals of Human Biology
  • Various journals including American Journal of Public Health, Annals of Human Biology, Demography, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Health and Place, International Journal for Equity in Health, Journal of Biosocial Science, Population Studies, Social Science and Medicine, Women and Health

Learned Societies and Professional Affiliations

  • BSPS conference inequalities in health strand organiser 2006-2007, BSPS health and mortality strand organiser 2012-2015.
  • BSPS council member 2003-2007 and 2011-
  • Biosocial Society committee member 2005-2009
  • Society for the Study of Human Biology Secretary 2007-2011
  • Member of the British Society for Population Studies, International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, and Society for the Study of Human Biology.

Visiting Titles

  • Honorary Professor of Population Health, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Featured publications

  • Kagura, J., Adair, L. S., Pisa, P. T., Griffiths, P. L., Pettifor, J. M., and Norris, S. A (2016 in press) Association of socioeconomic status change between infancy and adolescence, and blood pressure, in South African young adults: Birth to Twenty Cohort. BMJ Open 2016;6:e008805. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2015-008805.
  • Griffiths, P. L., Balakrishna, N., Fernandez Rao, S., and Johnson, W (2016).Do socio-economic inequalities in infant growth in rural India operate through maternal size and birth weight? Annals of Human Biology, 43, 2, 154-163. DOI: 10.3109/03014460.2015.1134656.
  • Kimani-Murage, E.W., Norris, S.A., Mutua, M.K., Wekesah, F., Wanjohi, M., Muhia, N., Muriuki, P., Egondi, T., Kyobutungi, C., Ezeh, A.C., Musoke, R.N., McGarvey, S.T., Madise, N.J.,  and Griffiths, P.L (2016). Potential effectiveness of Community Health Strategy to promote exclusive breastfeeding in urban poor settings in Nairobi, Kenya: a quasi-experimental study. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, 7, 2, 172-184. DOI:
  • Kesten, J.M., Griffiths, P. L. and Cameron, N (2015). A critical discussion of the Community Readiness Model using a case study of childhood obesity prevention in England. Health & Social Care in the Community, 23, 3, 262-271.
  • Kimani-Murage, E. W., Wekesah, F., Kyobutungi, C., Wanjohi, M., Muriuki, P., Ezeh, A., Musoke, R., Norris, S., Madise, N., and Griffiths, P (2015). Factors affecting actualization of the WHO breastfeeding recommendations in urban poor settings in Nairobi Kenya. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 11, 3, 314-332.
  • Pradeilles,R ,Rousham,EK ,Norris,SA ,Griffiths,P ,Feeley,A (Published online 2015). Socio-economic influences on anthropometric status in urban South African adolescents: sex differences in the Birth to Twenty Plus cohort. Public Health Nutrition,first view article. DOI:
  • Kimani-Murage, E. W., Wekesah, F., Kyobutungi, C., Wanjohi, M., Muriuki, P., Ezeh, A., Musoke, R., Norris, S., Madise, N., Griffiths, P (Published online 2014). Factors affecting actualization of the WHO breastfeeding recommendations in urban poor settings in Nairobi Kenya. Maternal and Child Nutrition,
  • Griffiths, P. L., Johnson, W. O., Cameron, N., Pettifor, J. M., and Norris, S. A. (2013). In urban South Africa 16 year old adolescents experience greater health equality than children. Economics and Human Biology, 11, 4, 502-514.
  • Johnson, W.O., Nagalla, B., and Griffiths, P. L (2013) Modeling physical growth using mixed effects models. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 150, 1, 58-67.
  • Vazir S, Engle P, Balakrishna N, Griffiths PL, Johnson SL, Creed-Kanashiro H, Fernandez Rao S, Shroff MR, and Bentley ME (2013). Cluster-randomized trial on complementary and responsive feeding education to caregivers found improved dietary intake, growth and development among rural Indian toddlers. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 9, 1, 99-117.