Silvia graduated from the Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (Portugal) in 2007 with a BSc in Fitness and Health, before moving to Loughborough University in 2008 to undertake an MRes in Human Biology, followed by a PhD (2009-2013). Her doctoral thesis focused on the objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour of 2-3 year-old South Asian and White British children, where she worked with the Born in Bradford birth cohort.

During her post-doctoral experience, Silvia worked as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (University of Cambridge, 2013), and a Research Associate at the Institute of Child Health (University College London, 2013-2015), before returning to the Centre for Diet and Activity Research as a Career Development Fellow (2015-2018) to start developing her own research. In August 2018, Silvia was appointed as a Lecturer in Physical Activity and Public Health at Loughborough University.

Silvia’s research interests focus on two main themes:

  • Health policy and practice – with an emphasis on the early childhood period, Silvia’s research has focused on the relationship between childcare attendance and obesity, as well as obesity-related risk factors (e.g., physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and diet). More broadly, Silvia is interested in how policies and practices within environments that young children are exposed to can influence their health behaviours, and how such policies and practices can be modified to improve children’s growth, development, and health behaviours (such as physical activity and diet).
  • The objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour– Silvia’s research has focused on the calibration and feasibility of using accelerometers to measure the physical activity and sedentary behaviour of young children from different ethnicities. More broadly, she is interested in the development, calibration, and feasibility of new methods and devices for the measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in children.
  • Committee member and Grants and Awards Officer for the Society for the Study of Human Biology.
  • Journal reviewer (e.g., PLoS ONE, Pediatric Obesity, Journal of Pediatrics, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, American Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Physical Activity & Health, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, BMC Public Health)

Featured publications

  • Costa S, Adams J, Gonzalez-Nahm S, Benjamin Neelon SE. “Childcare in infancy and later obesity:  A narrative review of longitudinal studies”.Curr Pediatr Rep. 2017; 5(3):118-31.doi: 10.1007/s40124-017-0134-7
  • Christie D, Hudson LD, Kinra S… Costa S, Holt R, Viner RM. “A community based motivational personalised lifestyle intervention to reduce BMI in obese adolescents: Results from the Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Programme (HELP) randomized controlled trial”. Arch Child Dis. 2017; 102:695-701. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2016-311586
  • Collings PJ, Brage S, Bingham DD, Costa S, West J, McEachan RRC, Wright J, Barber SE. “Relations of objectively-measured habitual physical activity and sedentary time with adiposity in a bi-ethnic cohort of young children”. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2017; 49(5):930-938.doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001180
  • Costa S, Phillips V, Adams J, Benjamin Neelon S. “The relationship between childcare and adiposity, body mass, and obesity-related risk factors:  Protocol for a systematic review of longitudinal studies.” Syst Rev. 2016; 5:141. doi: 10.1186/s13643-016-0312-7
  • Bingham DD, Shire KA, Hinkley T, Clemes SA, Costa S, Barber SE. “Physical Activity During the Early Years: A Systematic Review of Correlates and Determinants”. Am J Prev Med. 2016; 51(3):384-402. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.04.022
  • Bingham DD, Costa S, Clemes SA, Routen AC, Moore HJ, Barber SE. “Accelerometer data requirements for reliable estimation of habitual physical activity and sedentary time of children during the early years - a worked example following a stepped approach”. J Sport Sci. 2016; 34(20):2005-10. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1149605
  • Costa S, Ogilvie D, Dalton A, Westgate K, Brage S, Panter J. “Quantifying the physical activity energy expenditure of commuters using a combination of global positioning system and combined heart rate and movement sensors”. Prev Med. 2015; 81:339-344. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.09.022
  • Costa S, Johnson W, Viner RM.  “The influence of parental body mass index on weight status trajectories from childhood to mid-adulthood in the 1970 British Cohort Study”.  Longit Life Course Stud. 2015; 6(2):147-172. doi:10.14301/llcs.v6i2.301
  • Panter J, Costa S, Dalton A, Jones A, Ogilvie D. “Development of methods to objectively identify time spent using active and motorised modes of travel to work: how do self-reported measures compare?”. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014; 11:116. doi:10.1186/s12966-014-0116-x.
  • Costa S, Barber S, Cameron N, Clemes SA. “Calibration and validation of the ActiGraph GT3X+ in 2-3 year olds”.  J Sci Med Sport. 2014; 17(6):617-22.  doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2013.11.005