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Addressing inequalities in access to healthy lifestyles among people living with a disability (MILTONK_MED)

   Norwich Medical School

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  Dr Karen Milton  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


In England, there are 10.9 million people with a disability. Disability has a large impact on lifestyle behaviors, meaning people living with a disability are at increased risk or a range of health conditions, as well as missing out on other important social and mental health benefits. The current WHO mantra to leave no-one behind has shed renewed light on the importance of reducing inequalities in health and wellbeing, particularly among people living with a disability. 

The aim of this PhD is to identify key priorities in addressing inequalities in access to healthy lifestyle behaviours among people living with a disability. The research will span the measurement and classification of disability and the personal, social and environmental barriers to healthy lifestyle behaviours.  

Research methodology 

Given the importance of the lived experience in informing decision-making, particularly for people living with a disability, qualitative methods will be largely employed, although it is anticipated that the overall PhD will include mixed methods. The research will have a strong co-production element, engaging with people living with a disability to ensure the research is relevant and useful for advancing the field.  


Appropriate training will be provided depending on the needs and interests of the successful candidate. 

Person specification 

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in physical activity, public heath, disability, or other relevant discipline. A post-doctoral qualification (e.g Masters) would be advantageous.  

To discuss this opportunity, contact Dr Karen Milton at [Email Address Removed]  

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK fees, an annual stipend of £17,668 and £1,000 per annum for research training (RTSG). Overseas applicants (including EU) may apply but are required to fund the difference between Home and International tuition fees.


Carr S, Atkin AJ, Jones AP, Pulsford R, Milton K: A systematic review of disability assessment in prospective and cross-sectional physical activity related studies. Disability and Health Journal. Under review.
Atkin AJ, Carr S, Friedenreich CM, Biddle SJH, Milton K (2022) The behavioural epidemiology of physical activity in people with chronic conditions. British Journal of Sports Medicine. In press. DOI:10.1136/bjsports-2021-105171.
Carty C, van der Ploeg HP, Biddle SJH, Bull F, Willumsen J, Lee L, Kamenov K, Milton K (2021) The first global physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for people living with disability. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 18:86-93. DOI:10.1123/jpah.2020-0629.
DiPietro L, Al-Ansari SSS, Biddle SJH, Borodulin K, Bull F, Buman M, Cardon G, Carty C, Chaput J-P, Chastin S, Chou R, Dempsey PC, Ekelund U, Firth J, Friedenreich C, Garcia L, Gichu M, Jago R, Katzmarzyk PT, Lambert E, Leitzmann M, Milton K, Ortega FB, Ranasinghe C, Stamatakis E, Tiedemann A, Troiano R, van der Ploeg H, Willumsen J (2020) Advancing the global physical activity agenda: Recommendations for future research by the 2020 WHO physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines development group. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 17(143). DOI:0.1186/s12966-020-01042-2.
Milton K, Poole K, Cross A, Gasson S, Gokal K, Lyons K, Pulsford R, Jones A (2022) ‘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, 31(3): e13573. DOI:10.1111/ecc.13573.
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