Programme Leader – Dr David Ogilvie
The UK and many other countries have developed policies aimed at creating and fostering an environment that is more conducive to a sustained increase in population physical activity. However, the evidence base to guide policy in this area is limited. Major scientific uncertainty surrounds the effects of interventions to change population patterns of physical activity and the mechanisms by which that might be achieved.
Drawing on a broad social-ecological conceptual framework, this research programme aims to elucidate the potential of population-level approaches to the promotion of active living by evaluating the effects of environmental and policy interventions and understanding related patterns and mechanisms of behaviour change. The programme is currently focused on investigating approaches that involve modifying the physical environment or influencing wider determinants of active living in the social or economic environments.
The programme aims to address two main concurrent research themes:
Evaluating the overall and distributional effects of interventions
It is important to reduce the uncertainty surrounding the effects of interventions in order to discriminate between promising and ineffective approaches, identify those most likely to benefit the least active or the least healthy, compare the cost-effectiveness of different approaches, and inform the accurate modelling of their ultimate health impacts. This entails the evaluation of actual environmental and policy interventions in a variety of settings, particularly by means of natural experimental studies, and cumulating evidence from multiple studies.
Understanding related patterns and mechanisms of behaviour change
It is also necessary to understand why interventions are or are not effective, for whom and in what circumstances so they can be appropriately targeted and tailored. Environmental and policy interventions are often somewhat specific to their contexts, which presents a challenge for deriving generalisable causal inference from evaluative studies. Addressing this challenge entails the analysis and synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data from natural experimental and other observational datasets collected in a variety of settings.
The programme aims to provide a significant test-bed for and methodological development related to MRC guidance on using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions. We aim to provide empirical quantitative and qualitative inputs into the economic appraisal and evaluation of environmental and policy interventions, the development of models of physical activity behaviours, and the modelling of the ultimate health impacts of current and future interventions. We also aim to produce research outputs with actionable messages for policymakers, particularly through evidence synthesis and by contributing evidence to NICE public health guidance and other translational processes.
For further information on the current and former members of this research group and our studies, collaborators and publications click here.
- Louise Foley – Career Development Fellow
- Anna Le Gouais – PhD Student
- Craig Knott – Research Associate
- Oliver Mytton – Honorary Specialty Registrar / Ph.D. Student
- David Ogilvie – Programme Leader
- Jenna Panter – Senior Research Associate
- Lindsey Smith – PhD Student
- Cornelia Guell – Career Development Fellow
- Amelia Harshfield – Data Analyst
- Eva Heinen – Investigator Scientist
- Calum Mattocks – Career Development Fellow
- Rick Prins – Career Development Fellow