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Dr Daniel Bailey

Dr Daniel Bailey
Senior Lecturer in Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences

Heinz Wolff 206

PhD projects for research students

Reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity for the prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes

This proposed research will follow a process of intervention development and evaluation targeted at reducing and breaking up sitting time for the prevention and/or management of Type 2 diabetes. There are more than 3 million people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the UK, which costs the NHS 10% of its annual budget. This disease significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, early death, a host of complications (e.g. neuropathy, retinopathy) and reduces the quality of life. There is emerging evidence that reducing total daily sitting time (i.e. sedentary behaviour) is associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as improved glycaemic control in patients already diagnosed with the disease. There is consistent evidence that breaking up sitting time with short, frequent bouts (e.g. 2 to 5 minutes every 20 to 30 minutes) of light-intensity physical activity improves metabolic biomarkers over the course of a single day. However, healthcare guidelines in the UK do not recommend reducing or breaking up sitting time for prevention or management of Type 2 diabetes due to the lack of research evaluating long-term intervention effectiveness in high-quality study designs.

This PhD will project will address this gap in evidence through the development and evaluation of an intervention aimed at reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity for the prevention and/or management of Type 2 diabetes. The intervention is likely to include strategies such as phone apps and wearable devices that track sitting behaviour and provide feedback. The details of the proposal will be finalised with the PhD applicant. The project has the following aims:

  1. To systematically review evidence of the relationship between sedentary behaviour and risk of Type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related health outcomes.
  2. To develop an intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity in people at-risk of or diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
  3. To evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention for the prevention and/or management of Type 2 diabetes.

 

This project would be well suited to students with a background in sport, health and exercise sciences, physiotherapy, public health, healthcare, biomedical sciences, life sciences or related areas. An MSc qualification is essential.

Please contact Dr Daniel Bailey for an informal discussion and guidance on how to move forward.

Physical activity and sedentary behaviour in adults with a spinal cord injury

The proposed research will be conducted with an industry partner to develop a device for accurate measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in adults with a spinal cord injury who use a manual wheelchair (those with paraplegia). This will be followed by the development and evaluation of an intervention aimed at increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour in this group. Over 50,000 people in the UK have suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury and this condition significantly increases the risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, poor mental health, and early death. This may be largely due to reduced physical activity levels. However, researchers are currently limited in suitable devices for measuring physical activity in this group so the association between physical activity levels and health risk is difficult to quantify accurately.

Furthermore, the amount of time individuals spend engaging in sedentary behaviour (i.e. sitting with very low levels of energy expenditure) is associated with the aforementioned health risks. However, it is not clear how much time adults with a spinal cord injury spend being sedentary because of devices not being available to measure this.

There is also limited research evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity and/or reduce sedentary behaviour in this patient group.

This PhD project will address this gap in research by working with an industry partner to develop a research-grade device that permits valid and reliable measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in adults with a spinal cord injury who use a manual wheelchair. This will provide researchers with an essential tool for quantifying physical activity and sedentary levels in the general paraplegia spinal cord injury population. This device will also allow accurate monitoring of responses to an intervention that will be developed and evaluated during the PhD. The details of the proposal will be finalised with the PhD applicant. The project has the following aims:

  1. To validate a wearable device for measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in adults with a spinal cord injury who use a manual wheelchair.
  2. To use the validated tool for conducting an assessment of physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels in the general population of people with paraplegia.
  3. To develop and evaluate an intervention to increase physical activity and/or reduce sedentary behaviour in individuals with paraplegia.

This project would be well suited to students with a background in sport, health and exercise sciences, physiotherapy, public health, healthcare, biomedical sciences, life sciences or related areas. An MSc qualification is essential.

Please contact Dr Daniel Bailey for an informal discussion and guidance on how to move forward.

Frailty and sarcopenia in older adults: the role of sedentary behaviour and physical activity

Main aim: This proposed research will explore the role of sedentary behaviour and physical activity in the prevention, progression and/or treatment of frailty and sarcopenia in the ageing population. Sarcopenia is a progressive and generalised loss of muscle mass and muscle function with advancing age. This condition is associated with a range of health problems such as functional disability, falls, unplanned hospital admissions, poor quality of life, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and early death. Sarcopenia is related to the development of frailty, which is characterised by diminished strength, endurance, and physiologic function that increases vulnerability to dependency and death. Older adults are generally highly sedentary and engage in low levels of physical activity, which may be related to an increased risk of sarcopenia and frailty.

Objectives: This PhD programme will enhance our understanding of the relationship of sarcopenia and frailty with sedentary behaviour and physical activity levels with the intention of informing public health and clinical care guidelines to optimise the prevention and management of these conditions. The details of the proposal will be finalised with the PhD applicant. The proposed objectives are to:

  1. Systematically review evidence concerning the relationship of sarcopenia and frailty with sedentary behaviour and physical activity.

  2. Explore the combined effects of reduced sedentary behaviour and increased physical activity on sarcopenia and frailty risk and management.

  3. Develop and test an intervention to improve indicators of sarcopenia and frailty via reductions in sedentary behaviour and increased physical activity.

This project would be well suited to students with a background in sport, health and exercise sciences, physiotherapy, public health, healthcare, biomedical sciences, life sciences or related areas. An MSc qualification is essential. Please contact Dr Daniel Bailey for an informal discussion and guidance on how to move forward.