Programme Leader and MRC Investigator
Behavioural Epidemiology and Interventions in Young People Programme and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
- PhD in Public Health and Epidemiology (EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam) – 2004
- MSc in Human Movement Sciences (VU University, Amsterdam) – 1999
Background and experience
After completing a PhD on adult physical activity promotion in Dutch general practice in (PACE), Esther moved to Cambridge in 2004 to join the newly established MRC Epidemiology Unit as a Career Development Fellow. Here, she led the development of the Unit’s research on children’s and adolescents’ physical activity with a focus on identifying correlates and determinants to contribute to the development and evaluation of physical activity promotion interventions. In 2012, she was appointed Programme Leader of the newly established ‘Behavioural Epidemiology’ programme. Esther has been lead and co-investigator on various observational and experimental research projects focussed on young people’s physical activity behaviour. She is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. She has contributed to NICE guidance on “Promoting Physical activity for Children and Young People”, the IOC consensus statement on the “Health and Fitness of Young People Through Physical Activity and Sport”, and the 2018 UK CMO Physical Activity Guidelines Update.
Current work and interests
Esther leads the Behavioural Epidemiology and Interventions in Young People programme in the MRC Epidemiology Unit. This programme aims to develop and evaluate interventions to promote physical activity and dietary behaviour in young people, and use observational research to further understand where, when and how health promotion interventions in young people may be targeted. Guided by the ecological model of behaviour, various domains of influence are considered in both observational and intervention research. This includes psychological influences, as well as socio-cultural and environmental influences.
Esther is involved in various projects focussed on assessing personal, socio-cultural and environmental determinants of physical activity behaviour (such as SPEEDY, ICAD, ROOTS, SPACE, Southampton Women’s Survey), as well as intervention trials to promote physical activity (such as FAB, GoActive, CASE, and FRESH) and systematic reviews of the literature.
Esther is also Director of the Cambridge Epidemiology & Trials Unit (CETU)
- Olivia Alliott – Ph.D. Student
- Sofie Armitage
- Kirsten Corder – Senior Investigator Scientist
- Campbell Foubister – Ph.D. Student
- Justin Guagliano – Research Associate
- Erin Hoare – Visiting Fellow from Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
- Kathryn Hesketh – Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow
- Erika Ikeda – Post-doctoral Fellow
- Sonja Klingberg – Ph.D. Student
- Katie Morton – Career Development Fellow
- Esther van Sluijs – Programme Leader
- Andre Werneck – Visiting student from Universidade Estadual Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil.
- Eleanor Winpenny – Research Associate
Professional memberships and roles
- Associate Editor of International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
- Chair of the Institute of Public Health Bradford Hill seminars organizing committee
- Member of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Selected key publications
- Love R, Adams J, Van Sluijs EMF. Are school-based physical activity interventions effective and equitable? A meta-analysis of cluster randomised controlled trials with accelerometer-assessed activity. Obes Rev. (2019) 20(6):859-870.
- Corder KL, Brown HE, Schiff A, Van Sluijs EMF. Feasibility study and pilot cluster randomised controlled trial of the GoActive Intervention aiming to promote physical activity among adolescents: outcomes and lessons learnt. BMJ Open (2016) Nov 11;6(11):e012335.
- Brown HE, Atkin AJ, Panter J, Wong G, Chinapaw MJ, Van Sluijs EMF. Family-based interventions to increase physical activity in children: A systematic review, meta-analysis and realist synthesis. Obes Rev. (2016) Apr;17(4):345-60.
- Corder K, Sharp S J, Atkin AJ, Griffin SJ, Jones AP, Ekelund U, van Sluijs EM. Change in objectively measured physical activity during the transition to adolescence. Br J Sports Med. (2015) 49, 730-736.
- Sluijs EMF van, McMinn AM, Griffin SJ. Effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity in children and adolescents: systematic review of controlled trials. BMJ (2007) 335(7622):703-7.
See for overview of all Esther’s publications: Google Scholar publications and profile
Current and previous grants
- Investigating the impact of London’s ULEZ on children’s physical activity and weight (2019). Lead: C Griffiths (QMUL), CLAHRC, £103,928k (co-applicant).
- The impact of a family-based physical activity promotion programme on child physical activity: feasibility and pilot of the Families Reporting Every Step to Health (FRESH) intervention (2016-2019). PI: EMF van Sluijs, NIHR-PHR, £428,841.
- A cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the GoActive programme to increase physical activity among 13-14 year-old adolescents (2015-2019). PI: KL Corder. NIHR PHR, £1,025,631, (co-applicant).
- Examining the reach and effectiveness of cycle training in schools using the Millennium Cohort Study (2014-2016). PI: A Goodman. ESRC, £65,391 (co-applicant).
- Opportunities within the school environment to shift the distribution of activity intensity in adolescents (2015-2018). PI: EMF van Sluijs. Department of Health Policy Research Programme, £324K.
- Characterising patterns and changes in physical activity in older people and their determinants and consequences. (2013 –2016). PI: SJ Griffin. Lifelong Health and Wellbeing, £793K (co-applicant).
- Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) (2013-2018). PI: NJ Wareham. UKCRC (MRC), £4.2M (co-applicant).
- A randomised controlled trial evaluation of the effectiveness of three minimal human contact interventions to promote fitness and physical activity among NHS hospital employees (Get Moving) (2011-2013). PI: S Sutton. NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme, £248K (co-applicant).
- Diet and Physical Activity Public Health Research Centre (UKCRC Centre of Excellence) (2008-2012). PI: NJ Wareham. UKCRC (ESRC), £5M (co-applicant).
- Social and environmental influences on physical activity (2006-2009) (incl. SPEEDY study). PI: SJ Griffin. National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI), £392K (co-applicant)