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Sophie Phillips

PhD student

Children, young people & families programme, Health inequalities theme

Durham University (Fuse)

sophie.m.phillips@durham.ac.uk

Research Interests

Early years; health inequalities; movement related behaviours- physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep; measurement

Sophie's Q&A

  • What has been your career journey so far?

    I worked in a primary school, before pursuing a BSc in Psychology at the University of Liverpool and a MSc in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University.

  • Why did you choose to do a PhD in public health research?

    I was really keen to study a PhD in public health to contribute to the evidence base on physical activity and related behaviours, to help improve the health and well-being of children and young people. I was particularly interested in pursuing a PhD focusing on children in the early years due to this being such a fascinating and exciting age group, and such a critical period of life.

  • What is your research focused on?

    My PhD research involves assessing options for the measurement of the movement related behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviours, sleep) of pre-school children. In particular, how these behaviours can be measured at a population/public health level. The research is taking place with individuals from socio-economically deprived communities.

  • Why is it important?

    Measurement of the movement-related behaviours of pre-school aged children is important to estimate prevalence and trends in the behaviours, develop appropriate policies and programmes, determine how behaviours relate to other health, well-being and developmental indicators, and establish efficacy of interventions and initiatives aimed at changing these behaviours. However, the best way of measuring these behaviours of preschool-aged children at scale is currently unknown.

  • What do you like about being a part of the NIHR School for Public Health Research?

    I enjoy being part of the NIHR SPHR community due to the opportunities to engage and work with other PhD students and academics from institutions across the school. Additionally, the research programmes and themes that make up the NIHR SPHR and the annual events that take place allow for wider learning and engagement with ongoing work relating to public health.

  • What skills have you learnt and/or are hoping to learn as part of your PhD?

    During my PhD so far I have been able to advance some key skills, including further development of organisation skills, communication skills and qualitative research techniques. Further to this I have really valued the opportunity to engage in real world research, including working with early years educators, parents, carers and pre-school children. The opportunity to work alongside other organisations and large scale projects as part of my PhD has been a very insightful and valuable experience.

  • What do you hope to do after completing your PhD?

    I hope to continue research with young children and their families, with a focus on health inequalities throughout the work. I am interested in pursuing further work around the measurement of the movement-related behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep). However, I am also interested in research relating to health and development of young children, including examining the policy landscape.

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