Children, young people & families programme
University of Bristol
Nutrition and physical activity, obesity prevention and child health
Alice explains why her research is important to the public
What has been your career journey so far?
Before starting my PhD in SPHR, I worked as a fieldworker in the Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences department at the University of Bristol. My first fieldworker role involved writing a scoping review on physical activity levels in children with chronic conditions, such as asthma, and contributing to a grant proposal. My second fieldworker role involved working on a feasibility trial to increase physical activity levels of primary school aged children through an autonomy-supportive afterschool club called Action 3:30, led by teaching assistants. I have also worked in the fitness industry.
Why did you choose to do a PhD in public health research?
Both my MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health and previous roles sparked my interest in public health. I wanted the opportunity to conduct my own research and gain valuable skills and training for a career in public health.
What is your research focused on?
My research focuses on nutrition and obesity prevention in preschool aged children (1-5 years). It is particularly focused on portion sizes and portion size guidance.
Why is it important?
It is important to establish healthy behaviours from a young age, as these are more likely to track into later childhood and adulthood. Establishing age-appropriate portion sizes and self-regulation of energy intake is an important aspect of having a healthy diet and preventing overweight and obesity.
What do you like about being a part of the NIHR School for Public Health Research?
I like that fellow staff and students are so supportive and helpful and that there are opportunities to develop our skills and training beyond just doing the PhD.
What skills have you learnt and/or are hoping to learn as part of your PhD?
I have gained knowledge and skills in multiple methodologies, such as conducting a systematic review and multilevel model analysis. I have developed skills in academic writing and writing for the lay public. I hope to develop my skills in qualitative interviewing and thematic analysis.
What do you hope to do after completing your PhD?
I hope to secure a RA/SRA job within my field of research at one of the NIHR SPHR universities or secure funding for a post-doctoral fellowship.
Porter, A., Kipping, R., Summerbell, C., Dobrescu, A. and Johnson, L., 2020. What guidance is there on portion size for feeding preschool‐aged children (1 to 5 years) in the United Kingdom and Ireland? A systematic grey literature review. Obesity Reviews.
E-poster and presentation: European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO) 2020 online conference. What guidance is there on portion size for feeding preschool-aged children (1 to 5 years) in the United Kingdom and Ireland? A systematic grey literature review
Presentation: British Feeding and Drink Group conference 2021. ‘When and where are portion sizes larger in preschool children? A multilevel model analysis of eating occasion size among 1-5-year-olds’.
Presentation: Public Health England 2021. ‘When and where are portion sizes larger in preschool children? A multilevel model analysis of eating occasion size among 1-5-year-olds’.
Presentation: Public Health Research and Sciences conference 2021. ‘When and where are portion sizes larger in preschool children? A multilevel model analysis of eating occasion size among 1-5-year-olds’.