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  Closing the gap between what we know and what we do when intervening on inactivity and poor nutrition among adolescents living in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (Ref: SSEHS/NPClose)

   School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

  Dr Natalie Pearson  Sunday, July 21, 2024  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Over 80% of adolescents worldwide are physically inactive, and adolescent diet quality is often insufficient for optimum health and well-being. Given the rapid technological and environmental changes in sub-Saharan countries, lifestyle-based non-communicable diseases such as obesity are increasing at an alarming pace.

At present there is a paucity of knowledge on how to implement contextually relevant intervention strategies for promoting physical activity and healthy nutrition in adolescents living in SSA. Interventions to increase physical activity and improve nutrition among adolescents are often complex, and implementation strategies, such as approaches to facilitate, strengthen, and sustain the delivery of evidence-based practices and services are often overlooked in the development of interventions. Given the unique and often challenging contexts for physical activity and nutrition in low-income countries in SSA, understanding the key influences on the implementation of interventions is essential for the development and implementation of effective interventions.

This PhD project will be supported by an existing EU Horizon funded collaboration and study sites in Ghana and Kenya. The post graduate researcher will have the opportunity to capitalise on the infrastructure, contacts and collaborators from the EU Horizon funded project, and will be supported to lead a series of studies aiming to better understand what implementation strategies work to improve physical activity and nutrition of adolescents and importantly for whom and in what context, with a particular focus on understanding differences by socio-economic status, gender, and setting (i.e. Ghana and Kenya). Studies could include a realist synthesis, co-production of implementation strategies, and testing the implementation of these strategies on implementation outcomes.

You will complete your research at Loughborough University, which is ranked number one in the world for sport-related subjects (QS World University Rankings). You will be part of a team alongside expert supervisors: Dr Natalie Pearson, Dr Hibbah Osei-Kwasi, Prof. Paula Griffiths, and Prof. Lauren Sherar, who are leading this exciting global health project in the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences. The School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences offers an exciting, interdisciplinary research environment, where research students work alongside expert staff with a diverse range of interests and experience. By studying for a PhD with us, you will be joining a thriving research community of over 300 Doctoral Researchers from across the globe. You will add to world-leading research that is helping to shape the latest advancements across the global health, sport, exercise and health sectors.

In REF 2021, 94% of the work submitted in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences was judged to be top-rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, with 100% of research impact was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.


Primary supervisor: 

Secondary supervisors:

  • Dr Hibbah Osei-Kwasi
  • Prof. Lauren Sherar
  • Prof. Paula Griffiths

Entry requirements

Applicants should have achieved at least a 2:1 in their undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (e.g., Sport Sciences, Human Biology, Nutrition), and have a good understanding of lifestyle factors as they relate to health, and of research methods. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject (e.g. public health nutrition, physical activity and health, public health, human biology or global health) would be an advantage.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Please quote the advertised reference number: SSEHS/NPClose in your application.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

As part of your supporting documents, please submit a short (maximum of 2-pages) summary of the research/evidence gaps surrounding improving physical activity and nutrition of adolescents in rural Ghana and Kenya.

Apply now

Biological Sciences (4) Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £19,237 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus university tuition fees.

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