Image by Anne-Katrin Purkiss, Wellcome Images.

One of the sub themes will look at when and why people engage in healthy lifestyles.

Sub themes

Health and Healthy Lifestyles

Research in this sub theme focuses on:

  • Understanding the impact of change (eg, environmental change, change through the life span) on identity, health, and well-being.
  • Understanding when and why people engage in healthy lifestyles and,
  • Designing successful and efficient interventions to promote healthy living and ageing.

Prof Melvyn Hillsdon is uncovering factors that hinder or promote physical activity through ongoing research funded by The National Prevention Research Initiative and the Wellcome Trust.

The effectiveness of community interventions to increase physical activity could be improved by incorporating guidance provided by postgraduate researcher Emma Solomon of the Centre for Sport, Leisure and Tourism Research. Emma worked with Active Devon to evaluate the £1million 'Devon Active Villages' programme, enabling her to assess strengths and weaknesses and develop a new intervention framework.

The role of group based interventions in promoting healthy lifestyles among obese people is clarified by Leverhulme Trust funded ongoing research by Drs Mark Tarrant and Sammyh Kahn.

Ageing, Health and Society

With a project funded by the European Commission (PROGRESS programme) Dr Thomas Morton, is investigating how new technologies, particularly the Internet and social networks, can help foster communication and social inclusion of the elderly, and evaluate the effects on their health and wellbeing.

Dr David Llewellyn may have uncovered a simple way to treat people at risk of dementia after his team conducted the first study that discovered a link between low vitamin D levels and cognitive decline in the elderly.

Vitamin D protects the brain and is naturally produced by our bodies on exposure to sunlight, but this process becomes less efficient with age, leading to low levels. With funding from the US Alzheimer’s Association the team is now conducting studies to investigate whether vitamin D supplements offer a cheap and effective way to protect against dementia.

Changing Families

Research within this topic attempts to understand how families, organisations, and communities are changing and what psychological, social, legal, and policy implications that change entails.

Via the Network on Family, Regulation and Society, the University of Exeter leads the Leverhulme Trust International Network on New Families, New Governance.

The Leverhulme Network forges international and interdisciplinary connections to examine the role of the state in family regulation, in the context of significant change in both family structures and processes and in the nature of regulation and governance of families.

Social and Political Participation

This sub theme examines barriers and facilitators to social and political participation. Research focuses on:

  • Understanding the factors that inhibit full participation in society.
  • Uncovering the factors that promote different forms of participation. And,
  • Designing interventions that increase participation.

Exeter academic Prof Susan Banducci leads the ELECDEM Training Network in International Democracy, which studies the impact of globalisation, technological developments in communication and institutional change on representation and accountability.

Research by Dr Nick Gill uncovers why asylum seeker appeals have different success rates in the UK depending on the court in which they are lodged. The research is funded by the Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC) and supported by the Refugee Council, the British Red Cross, and the Bail for Immigration Detainees.

The European Research Council has awarded a five year grant to Dr Nicole Bolleyer to compare participation in parties, interest groups, and welfare providing organisations.

Addressing Social Inequalities

This sub-theme looks at:

  • Understanding existing social inequalities in a range of domains.
  • Identifying their impact on achievement, health, and wellbeing. And,
  • Understanding how social equality can be promoted.

Insight into improving gender inequality in the financial services sector has been provided in a report published by the University and the Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network (FS KTN).

The work, led by Prof Michelle Ryan, considers the introduction of interventions including gender quotas and regulation, flexible working and improved networking to overcome the multiple barriers to gender equality.

Prof Ryan also worked with Prof Alex Haslam to show that shareholders tend to devalue companies with women board members and over-value those with all-male boards.