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Developing a web-based digital platform to encourage activity, healthy eating and hydration to promote healthy ageing in people over 70-years.

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

About the Project

There is strong evidence that strength and balance exercises reduce falls and that strength and balance exercise as a stand-alone intervention may be the most cost-effective approach to falls prevention at a population level. There has been some success demonstrated with Exergaming, a type of telerehabilitation that combines gameplay with physical exercise. The advantages of using exergaming systems to deliver exercise are that they can be immersive, entertaining and enjoyable, potentially improving adherence, frequency and duration of an interventional programme. There is paucity of evidence in relation to using gamification to promote other healthy behaviours. Poor nutritional status in older people often leads to decreased functionality, weight loss, malnutrition and detrimentally effects independence. The proposed project plans to build upon the success of exergaming to promote exercise and plans to incorporate healthy eating and hydration in a similar format to promote healthier behaviours not only on strength and balance exercises but also on food and hydration suitable for older populations.

Aim: To develop a platform using gamification and digital technology to promote activity and healthy eating and drinking in people over 70-years.

Developing the intervention: The development of the intervention will be user-centred by working in partnership with key stakeholders and end-users. Initial ideas and a story board will be discussed with key stakeholders and we will encourage an open debate of the key messages behind the games and key themes that need to be covered for best evidence. This initial consultation material will be used to format a story board for the prototype. This story board will then be discussed in 3-4 focus groups with will be held with 8-10 people in each who will be either key stakeholders or potential end-users. From the information gained from the focus groups the prototype will be designed and produced in the form of a web-based application (accessible using tablet, mobile or computer).

The online application will then undergo preliminary evaluation by end-users who will be asked to undertake a formal assessment of the new technology, usability, acceptability and practicality of information gained using mixed methods. After this evaluation there will be an opportunity to modify the content and also change user experience as required. This will inform the methods for a future (post-doc) randomised controlled effectiveness study.

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject. Candidates with experience in health or social care or with an interest in digital health are encouraged to apply.

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Nursing.

For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website (View Website). For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (View Website).

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.”

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