Lifestyle medicine

Our work in this research area focuses on life-course determinants of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, nutrition and health and wellbeing in a global context.

All stages of the life course are studied from early foetal, infant and childhood growth through to diseases associated with older age including osteoporosis and dementia.

Our team of academic researchers examine how lifestyle can prevent and treat long-term conditions across the lifespan, and in a variety of populations. We then use this knowledge to collaborate with key stakeholders and participant groups to develop innovative and sustainable interventions to optimise health and wellbeing.

To discuss opportunities to work with researchers working in the area of Lifestyle medicine, or if you are interested in a research studentship or a self-funded PhD with us, please visit our researcher’s staff profile pages via the 'People' tab below.

A number of research projects available for collaboration in the area of Lifestyle medicine are also listed on RIC-KI (Research Ideas Catalogue – Knowledge & Impact).

Research

Our current research specialisms include:

  • Prevention and treatment of chronic diseases – Our pioneering research tests physical activity and weight management interventions to save lives and reduce the risk of ill health.
  • Brief interventions and making every contact count – We’re testing the use of innovative behaviour interventions during routine NHS appointments to help change health behaviours.
  • Healthy lifestyles in children – Our cutting-edge research focuses on developing and evaluating evidence-based healthy lifestyle programmes for children and young people.
  • Health communication and food labelling – We test creative and innovative ways of conveying information about food and drinks to the public to make it easier to select healthier options.
  • Women’s health and lifestyle behaviours – We’re investigating the benefits of innovative lifestyle interventions during pregnancy and postnatally, a high-risk time for excessive weight gain.
  • Technology and the measurement of health – Our expert team is developing digital health interventions that provide feedback to the public about their health.

Real-world impact

Here are some examples of where our research has had an impact:

People

If you would like to collaborate with our researchers, engage in consultancy or discuss potential PhD projects, please contact them using the information on their staff profile.

Our academic staff

  • Professor Amanda Daley – Developing and testing physical activity and weight management intervention in primary care and community settings.
  • Professor Lettie Bishop – Impact of physical activity on immunity, chronic inflammation and chronic inflammatory disease risk.
  • Dr Stacy Clemes – Impact of physical activity and sedentary behaviour on markers of health and wellbeing.
  • Dr Janine Coates – Factors influencing young people’s engagement in physical activity and sport (focusing on disability); health and wellbeing benefits of outdoor learning (e.g. Forest School).
  • Dr Silvia Costa – How health policies and practice influence health, with an emphasis on early childhood.
  • Dr Dale Esliger – Enhancing the accelerometric profiling of physical activity, through the development of sophisticated physical activity measurement methodologies and technologies, to advance our understanding of the interplay between physical activity, sedentary behavior and health.
  • Dr Kajal Gokal – Impact of physical activity for the prevention and management of cancer.
  • Professor Paula Griffiths – Reducing inequalities in health through community-based interventions to improve maternal, infant and child nutrition, growth, development and health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Dr Jennie Hancox – Developing behavioural change interventions for the promotion and maintenance of physical health and psychological wellbeing.
  • Professor Rebecca Hardy – The development and consequences of overweight and obesity across life; functional trajectories of cardiovascular and respiratory ageing; life course social inequalities in health and ageing; women's health and menopause.
  • Dr Iuliana Hartescu – Sleep behaviour and health: insomnia, health and performance; and using RCT methodology to improve sleep and health outcomes.
  • Professor Emma Haycraft – Children’s healthy development, with particular focus on children’s eating, and caregivers’ feeding, behaviours.
  • Professor Eef Hogervorst – Early diagnoses and lifestyle changes including activity supported by design for dementia.
  • Dr Will Johnson – Secular trends and socioeconomic inequalities in population health, body size and composition trajectories for lifelong health and wellbeing; statistical methods to model longitudinal and cross-cohort data.
  • Dr Claire Madigan – Baby steps to better health focusing on weight management.
  • Dr Oonagh Markey – Dietary strategies for promotion of cardiometabolic health across the life course.
  • Dr Elisa Marques - the muscle and bone loss phenomenon from a clinical perspective and the impact of exercise training programmes, as well as imaging techniques to explore the physiology of muscle, bone structure and the underlying epidemiologic associations in ageing.
  • Dr Sarabjit Mastana – Human genomic studies, particularly focusing on genetic epidemiological analyses of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hypertension and Osteoporosis among native and migrant populations.
  • Dr Chris McLeod – Exploring psychological drivers of eating behaviour and interventions to increase the health span of adults.
  • Dr Hilary McDermott – Health and well-being with a strong emphasis on the promotion and maintenance of health in the workplace.
  • Professor Fehmidah Munir – Psychological and physical health and wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Hibbah Osei-Kwasi – Dietary practices and behavioural change interventions for Black minority ethnic groups; and global health and nutrition research to reduce inequalities in low/middle income countries.
  • Dr Nicola Paine – Impact of stress and health behaviours on markers of health and disease risk.
  • Dr Natalie Pearson – Factors influencing diet, sedentary behaviour and physical activity, and the impact of these health behaviours on public health.
  • Dr Emily Petherick – Childhood growth and obesity, social, economic and ethnic differences in health, and data linkage between research data and routine health and administrative data for research.
  • Dr Carolyn Plateau – Mental health, wellbeing and disordered eating in sporting populations.
  • Dr Emily Rousham – Global health including public health nutrition; community based interventions to improve nutrition and reduce infectious disease and antibiotic resistance.
  • Dr James Sanders – Testing the accuracy and reliability of mHealth technologies and the design and implementation of digital health behaviour change interventions in inactive adult populations.
  • Professor Lauren Sherar – Understanding and intervening on physical activity and sedentary behaviour to improve physical and mental health.
  • Professor David Stensel – Impact of physical activity on appetite, body composition and risk of chronic disease.
  • Dr Ian Taylor – Motivational processes that optimise health (e.g. adherence to activity or rehabilitation).
  • Dr Keith Tolfrey – The impact of manipulations in exercise, physical activity, sedentary behaviour and diet on metabolism, fitness and body composition in young people (children and adolescents).
  • Dr Ines Varela-Silva – Patterns of human growth and development as indicators of health and disease; the nutritional dual-burden paradox; energy balance, physical (in)activity and intergenerational components of health and disease; nutritional status and cardiovascular health.
  • Professor Patrick Wheeler – Medical management of musculoskeletal disease, particularly tendinopathy.
  • Dr Gemma Witcomb – Impact of gender, gendered-experiences, LGBTQ+ status on body image, psychological wellbeing and eating behaviours.

Current PhD projects

Our doctoral researchers (PhDs)

  • Noura Alosaimi – Factors shaping health-related behaviours in the transition into young adulthood.
  • Aiden Chauntry – The impact of sedentary behaviour on physiological responses to stress.
  • Henrietta Graham – Testing the small change approach to long-term weight management: Just one randomised controlled trial.
  • Natalia Iris – Physical activity calorie equivalent labelling.
  • Ellie Langworthy – Investigating how physical activity can be embedded into routine cancer care.
  • Victoria Linsley – Interactions between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and immune reactivity to acute psychological stress - implications for cardiovascular disease.
  • Nessa Millet – Acceptability in cervical cancer of an exercise-based programme delivered through an online community environment.
  • Maria Luisa Pereira Vargas – Constructing mental illness and its recovery: Athlete narratives.
  • Kayleigh Sharp – Investigating physical activity during pregnancy.
  • Lynsey Speirs – Improving physical activity in older adults with spinal cord injury.
  • Jonah Thomas – Snacktivity to promote physical activity and reduce future risk of chronic disease in the population.
  • Alexandra Todd – Physical activity calorie equivalent labelling.

To find out more about PhD opportunities in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, visit our Postgraduate research webpages.

Effects of resistance exercise on the risk of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis in females

We are conducting research into the possible benefits of resistance exercise on bone and joint health and physical function in postmenopausal women. This research will uncover what types of exercise may be best for preventing osteoporosis (brittle bones) and osteoarthritis (painful joints).

Find out more