Examining how efforts to promote healthy eating to children can meet the needs of those at risk of food insecurity

   School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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  Dr C Holley, Dr E Haycraft  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Loughborough University has seen 100% of the research impact in the area of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences has been rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, underlining the wide-ranging positive impacts that our research has on the world (REF, 2021).

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. Find out more.


Vegetable consumption is consistently low among children, with only 25% of children consuming the recommended daily target. In response to these complex issues, considerable research has been conducted on the ways in which children’s diet can be improved, including looking at the feeding practices which parents use with their children. However, this research has typically been conducted with relatively well-off UK samples.

Alongside this, food insecurity has become increasingly prevalent, resulting in many children living on a restricted diet with poor variety and widening inequality in access to and consumption of a healthy diet but little is known about the impact of food insecurity on children’s eating behaviour, or the feeding practices which their parents use.

Programmes have emerged that specifically aim to address food insecurity for children living in areas of socio-economic disadvantage but understanding of the impact of these on improving children’s dietary intake and development of eating behaviours is limited. There is a lack of research examining how public health intervention programmes can best serve those children at risk of food insecurity and from underreached communities.

The current project aims to: (1) explore the role of food insecurity in the relationships between parental feeding practices and children’s dietary variety; (2) Identify the challenges faced by healthy eating interventions seeking to target all children; (3) Understand how such interventions can overcome these challenges in order to reach these at-risk children. It is anticipated that the project will combine both quantitative methods (including secondary analysis of large datasets) and qualitative methods (including focus group).


Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please choose it from the drop-down below.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or a related subject. A relevant master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Psychology, Health Psychology, Public Health, Nutrition, and others.

English language requirements

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


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £16,062per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. International students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee only.


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

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

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