Behavioural Epidemiology

Current/previous studentships in the Behavioural Epidemiology programme:

  • Socio-cultural correlates of physical activity in children.
  • Physical activity in preschool-aged children: epidemiology and influences.
  • Time-segment specific physical activity; characteristics and changes in youth.
  • Predictors of change in physical activity in children and adolescents.
  • Equity in children’s physical activity and their response to physical activity interventions.

Examples of possible future topics for doctoral research:

Determinants of physical activity and dietary behaviour in young people
In the Behavioural Epidemiology Programme, we aim to study multi-level influences on young people’s behaviours and identify target behaviours, locations, timing and potential targeting of interventions. Doctoral research in this area might involve secondary data analyses, evidence synthesis or contributions to primary data collection. Potential topics include multi-level influences on young people’s dietary behaviour, the inter-relationship between diet and activity behaviours, family physical activity co-participation, macro-level influences on physical activity (using the International Children’s Accelerometry Database), or health behaviour during adolescence and over the transition to adulthood.

Development and evaluation of physical activity promotion interventions
We aim to develop and test novel intervention strategies, and to understand mediators and moderators of behaviour change. Doctoral research may entail quantitative or mixed-methods research to study the effectiveness and reach of interventions along a causal pathway, and investigate for who and why interventions are effective. Interventions may be (pre)school- or family-based, targeted or universal, and include young people of different ages.

For more information about our ongoing research and the datasets we use see:

For further information about PhD opportunities, please contact Dr Esther van Sluijs,