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Reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity for the prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes

   Sport, Health and Exercise Science

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  Dr D Bailey  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This proposed research will follow a process of intervention development and evaluation targeted at reducing and breaking up sitting time for the prevention and/or management of Type 2 diabetes. There are more than 3 million people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the UK, which costs the NHS 10% of its annual budget. This disease significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, early death, a host of complications (e.g. neuropathy, retinopathy) and reduces the quality of life. There is emerging evidence that reducing total daily sitting time (i.e. sedentary behaviour) is associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as improved glycaemic control in patients already diagnosed with the disease. There is consistent evidence that breaking up sitting time with short, frequent bouts (e.g. 2 to 5 minutes every 20 to 30 minutes) of light-intensity physical activity improves metabolic biomarkers over the course of a single day. However, healthcare guidelines in the UK do not recommend reducing or breaking up sitting time for prevention or management of Type 2 diabetes due to the lack of research evaluating long-term intervention effectiveness in high-quality study designs.

This PhD will project will address this gap in evidence through the development and evaluation of an intervention aimed at reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity for the prevention and/or management of Type 2 diabetes. The intervention is likely to include strategies such as phone apps and wearable devices that track sitting behaviour and provide feedback. The details of the proposal will be finalised with the PhD applicant. The project has the following aims:

  1. To systematically review evidence of the relationship between sedentary behaviour and risk of Type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related health outcomes.
  2. To develop an intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity in people at-risk of or diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
  3. To evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention for the prevention and/or management of Type 2 diabetes.


This project would be well suited to students with a background in sport, health and exercise sciences, physiotherapy, public health, healthcare, biomedical sciences, life sciences or related areas. An MSc qualification is essential.

Please contact Dr Daniel Bailey for an informal discussion and guidance on how to move forward.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

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