Dr Kathryn Hesketh

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow

Kathryn HeskethEmail: krh40@cam.ac.uk


  • MA Psychology and Physiology (PPP), Oxon
  • MSc Health Psychology, UCL
  • MPhil Epidemiology, Cantab
  • PhD Epidemiology, Cantab

Background and experience

Kathryn is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in Epidemiology, and Visiting Fellow at CEDAR. Her work focuses on Maternal and Child Health, and provides evidence to help promote activity behaviour in families with young children.

Prior to starting her Fellowship, Kathryn worked as a Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Child Health, leading a project to explore clustering of health conditions and health behaviours using data from the Millennium Cohort Study.

Kathryn completed her MPhil and PhD in Epidemiology at CEDAR, on a 1+3 ESRC Studentship. During her PhD, she gained an enhanced stipend for Advanced Quantitative Methods; undertook a three month ESRC Internship with the Behavioural Insights Team at the UK Cabinet Office (2011); and completed an Overseas Institutional Visit to Duke and Harvard Universities in the USA (2012).

Kathryn’s thesis explored physical activity level in UK preschool children, and the influence that the environment and caregivers have on this activity. Using data from the Southampton Women’s Survey, a unique prospective cohort, she has looked at: levels and patterns of activity;  the association between maternal and child physical activity; and maternal awareness of physical activity levels in their children and correlates of overestimation. Kathryn then went on to conduct an observational study, SPACE, in nurseries and preschools throughout Cambridgeshire, to determin how childcare influences children’s physcial activity.

Work and interests

Using longitudinal data from UK and US cohort studies, Kathryn’s fellowship will provide novel information about physical activity in women during the transition to motherhood, and in children up to 5 years. Her interests include: establishing what factors drive change in physical activity during pregnancy and post-partum in women, and during the preschool period in children; the link between parent-child activity behaviour in early childhood; and how physical activity influences health in women and development in children. She is also interested in measurement of physical activity during pregnancy and early life.

Aside from research, Kathryn also enjoys teaching. At University College London, she has supervised and examined BSc and MSc theses in Advanced Pediatrics, Public Health Nutrition, and Health Psychology, and has also lectured on Physical Activity Behaviour in Childhood, and Social Inequalities. Whilst at Cambridge, she supervised undergraduate medical students on the Social Context of Health and Illness (SCHI) course and taught MPhil Epidemiology and Public Health students. In 2011-12, she was also course lecturer/co-ordinator for ‘Health Promotion and Consultation’, a third year option at Anglia Ruskin University.

Professional memberships and roles

  •  Member of the British Psychological Society (Health Psychology Subdivision) www.health-psychology.org.uk
  •  Graduate Member of the Royal Statistical Society


Current and previous grants

  • Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2019; £250,000)
  • Australian Government Endeavour Post-doctoral Fellowship (Awarded in 2014 but not taken up; AUD$19,000)
  • Columbia/ Princeton Fragile Families Summer Data Workshop (2014; $2,000)
  • ESRC Overseas Institutional Visit, Duke and Harvard Universities (2012; £2,500)
  • CEDAR Research funding for pilot/feasibility studies (2012-13)
  • Scholarship award, Johns Hopkins Fall Institute (2011; £2,000)
  • ESRC Government Internship Scheme (2011; £2,500)
  • ESRC Advanced Quantitative Methods Enhanced Stipend, CEDAR (2010-13)
  • 1+3 ESRC Studentship, CEDAR (2009-13)
  • MRC Studentship, UCL (2008-9)
  • Child Health Research Appeal Trust Summer Studentship, Institute of Child Health, UCL (2006)

External links
At Linkedin – http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/kathryn-hesketh/28/a/9ab