Work and interests
Simon is a public health nutritionist specialising in assessment of dietary intake and nutritional status, particularly during pregnancy. While at the Unit he developed the MRC Population Health Sciences Measurements Toolkit, funded by a grant from the MRC Population Health Sciences Research Network (PHSRN) and led by Dr Nita Forouhi, Programme Leader of the Nutritional Epidemiology Group. Simon left the Unit in February 2016.
The Measurement Toolkit is a web-based resource providing methodological guidance and knowledge to researchers planning studies that require rigorous measurement of commonly-used variables, such as:
- Dietary intake and eating behaviour
- Physical activity and energy expenditure
- Body composition and muscle strength
- Smoking status and behaviour
- Alcohol intake
The project serves as an update and upgrade of the ‘Dietary Assessment and Physical Activity (DAPA) Toolkit‘, developed in 2009 through a previous PHSRN grant. Its remit has been expanded to harness the wealth of expertise available within the MRC, providing methodological guidance on a wide range of epidemiological measures for populations of every life stage, such as infancy, pregnancy, childhood, adolescence or later life.
As well as outlining the various assessment methods available, the Measurement Toolkit guides users in the selection of methods appropriate for their study population and research aims. It also facilitates access to assessment tools, either by hosting them on the MRC Measurement Toolkit website or providing contact information and links to to organisations that may be able to assist.
Background and experience
Simon became a nutrition scientist after brief careers in the Royal Navy and Corporate Restructuring. He completed a MSc in Public Health Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (2002-2003). In 2004 he worked at Emory University in Atlanta identifying factors associated with non-consumption of iodised salt in developing countries. He further developed his interest in Nutritional Epidemiology during his PhD at King’s College London, exploring relationships between diet, nutritional status and pregnancy outcomes in UK adolescents. He then taught nutritional science at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, first at King’s College London (2009-2010) and then at Oxford Brookes University (2010-2013) before starting in his current role at the MRC Epidemiology Unit.
- Coathup V, Wheeler SJ, Smith L (2015) A method comparison of a food frequency questionnaire to measure folate, choline, betaine, vitamin C and carotenoids with 24-h dietary recalls in women of reproductive age. Eur J Clin Nutr. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.159
- Wheeler SJ, Poston L, Baker, PN, Thomas, JE, Seed PT, Sanders TA (2011) Maternal plasma fatty acid composition and pregnancy outcome in adolescents. Br J Nutr. 105:601-10.
- Jones RL, Cederberg HMS, Wheeler SJ, Poston L, Hutchinson CJ, Seed PT, Oliver RL, Baker PN (2010) Relationship between maternal growth, infant birthweight and nutrient partitioning in teenage pregnancies. BJOG 117:200–211.
- Baker PN, Wheeler SJ, Sanders TA, Thomas JE, Hutchinson CJ, Clarke K, Berry JL, Jones RL, Seed PT, Poston, L (2009) A prospective study of micronutrient status in adolescent pregnancy. Am J Clin Nutr. 89:1114-1124.
- Wheeler, S (2008) Assessment and interpretation of micronutrient status during pregnancy. Proc Nutr Soc. 67:437-450.