The research we do informs policies for improving public health through behavioural or environmental changes. Promotion of physical activity and evaluation of its health benefits forms a central theme, linking, in one direction, to behavioural medicine and, in other directions, to policies for urban planning and reduction of traffic-related air pollution.
Studies of smoking cessation, including evaluation of exercise promotion in pregnancy, form part of a broader programme addressing addictive behaviours, in collaboration with the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS).
Diet and physical activity in children
Our interest in determinants of obesity, and its consequences in children, has been informed by detailed physical activity measurements. We also assess dietary patterns and factors associated with the risk of being overweight and developing diabetes in the ethnically diverse CHASE study.
Physical activity in adults
The PACE trials are evaluating the use of pedometers to increase physical activity and reduce risk of ill-health among adults, including a local multi-ethnic community in South West London.
Links between physical activity and the urban environment, and their implications for town planning, are being explored by the ENABLE study of East London residents who are being rehoused into the former Olympic Athletes Village.
London is also the focus of recent studies of the health effects of traffic-related air pollutants, using both small-area geographical comparisons and time-series methods. This programme of work, in collaboration with the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, builds upon our previous systematic reviews of the adverse health effects of outdoor air pollutants which informed international discussions of air quality guidelines.
Projects and publications
Recently funded projects
|Title||Funded by||Principal investigator or lead at St George's|
|A randomised controlled trial of a pedometer-based intervention combined with primary care physical activity consultations, in patients aged 60-74 (PACE-Lift)||National Institute for Health Research ||Dr Tess Harris|
|Randomised controlled trial of a pedometer-based walking intervention with and without practice nurse support in patients aged 45-74 years (PACE-UP)||National Institute for Health Research||Dr Tess Harris|
|A pragmatic randomized controlled trial of physical activity as an aid to smoking cessation during pregnancy||National Institute for Health Research||Professor Michael Ussher|
Supervised, vigorous, intensity exercise intervention for depressed female smokers
|Mayo Clinic, USA||Professor Michael Ussher|
Improving the effectiveness and reach of NHS support for smoking cessation in pregnancy
|National Institute for Health Research||Professor Michael Ussher|
|Smoking cessation: population and clinical approaches. Funded by Cancer Research UK. SGUL lead: Michael Ussher||Cancer Research UK||Professor Michael Ussher|
A multi-centre randomised trial comparing the effectiveness of enhanced motivational interviewing with usual care for reducing cardiovascular risk (MOVE-IT)
|National Institute for Health Research||Professor Derek Cook|
Will moving into social and affordable housing in the Athletes' Village increase family physical activity levels? Evaluation of a natural experiment
|Medical Research Council (under the National Prevention Research initiative)|
|Does active design increase walking and cycling? Funded by the National Institute for Health Research. PI: Christopher Owen.||National Institute for Health Research||Professor Christopher Owen|
Systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis of the evidence for associations between chronic and short term exposure to outdoor air pollutants and health
|Department of Health||Dr Richard Atkinson|
Air pollution and weather-related health impacts methodological study based on spatio-temporally disaggregated multi-pollutant models
|Medical Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council||Dr Richard Atkinson|
|Traffic air pollution and health in London||Medical Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council||Dr Richard Atkinson|
|Systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis of the evidence for associations between chronic and short-term exposure to outdoor air pollutants and health||Department of Health||Dr Richard Atkinson|
Selected recent publications
Ussher M, Lewis S, Aveyard P, Manyonda I, West R, Lewis B, Marcus B, Riaz M, Taylor A, Daley A, Coleman T. Physical activity for smoking cessation in pregnancy: randomised controlled trial. Br Med J 2015;350:h2145.
Donin AS, Nightingale CM, Owen CG, Rudnicka AR, Perkin MR, Jebb SA, Stephen AM, Sattar N, Cook DG, Whincup PH. Regular breakfast consumption and type 2 diabetes risk markers in 9- to 10-year-old children in the child heart and health study in England (CHASE): a cross-sectional analysis. PLoS Med 2014;11:e1001703.
Harris T, Kerry SM, Victor CR, Ekelund U, Woodcock A, Iliffe S, Whincup PH, Beighton C, Ussher M, Limb ES, David L, Brewin D, Adams F, Rogers A, Cook DG. A primary care nurse-delivered walking intervention in older adults: PACE (pedometer accelerometer consultation evaluation)-Lift cluster randomised controlled trial. PLoS Med 2015;12:e1001783.
Atkinson RW, Kang S, Anderson HR, Mills IC, Walton HA. Epidemiological time series studies of PM2.5 and daily mortality and hospital admissions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Thorax 2014;69:660-665.
Carey IM, Atkinson RW, Kent AJ, van Staa T, Cook DG, Anderson HR. Mortality associations with long term exposure to outdoor air pollution in a national English cohort. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2013;187:1226-33. .