Child on swing

Children's Health Interest Group

Institute for Health Research

Healthy children for a healthy future

The health of children pre-birth and during their early years can dramatically affect their health and wellbeing throughout the life course. In the UK, child death rates, obesity and ill health are higher than in many other European countries and inequalities in child health have widened. A range of factors such as poor nutrition, low breastfeeding rates, physical inactivity, poverty, parental smoking and alcohol consumption have contributed to this increase. Interventions at an early stage can prevent problems such as obesity, asthma, diabetes and mental health problems developing. Here at LJMU, we recognise the importance of designing studies with and for children and their families to improve health outcomes. This is reflected within our programmes of child health research which examine the efficacy of interventions, assessment, service evaluation and medicine formulation and delivery.

Research themes

We bring together researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines across the university including: public health, sport science, psychology, physical activity, nursing, pharmacy, education, computer science, natural sciences and business – taking a truly multidisciplinary approach to research that aims to improve children’s health and well-being. Current research theme areas include:

  • Best start to life
  • Paediatric medicine
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Healthy behaviours
  • Technology in health

We also have expertise in child-centred research methods and the use of novel participatory tools to collect data from children and young people in creative and innovative ways, underpins much of the research conducted by members of this interest group.

Research impact

  • Alcohol and Young People: Alcohol consumption has potential health and social implications for children and young people. Research at LJMU has helped to stimulate debate around this issue and provide a framework for policy recommendations
  • Increasing activity by adapting play environments: Falling levels of physical activity amongst children has consequences for health and well-being across the lifespan. Researchers at LJMU have demonstrated how modifying children’s play spaces can significantly increase activity levels over a sustained period, with the potential for generating important short and long-term health benefits
  • Manipulation of Drugs Required in Children (MODRIC): In collaboration with Alder Hey and Women’s NHS Trust, researchers at LJMU have produced guidelines for health professionals on alternatives to or the alteration of adult drug formulations for administration to children
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Hertfordshire, Luton and Northamptonshire: Findings from this research have enabled appropriate policies and programmes to be implemented to prevent ACEs and identify and intervene where children are already experiencing stressors
  • LJMU Spotlight on Research Award Winner – Lorna Brookes (intranet login required): Development of MyTime, a new self-help app for children affected by parental imprisonment, to improve their well-being

Who we work with

We are committed to working collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the research we undertake will have maximum impact.

We have strong links with local authorities, schools, NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups, for example; Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Health Partners, Public Health England, Public Health Wales and the European Paediatric Formulation Initiative.

Contact us

If you are interested in working with us on a collaborative project, or are interested in MPhil/PhD research opportunities, please get in touch:

Contact group coordinators: Dr Lorna Porcellato and Dr Clare Van Miert.