Children, Young People and Families Interest Group

Supporting Children, Young People and Families to Have the Best, Healthiest Start in Life

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 high levels of crime and violence, poor nutrition, 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 difficulties developing.

Here at LJMU, we recognise the importance of designing studies with and for children, young people, and their families to improve health outcomes. This is reflected within our programmes of children, young people and families’ health research which seeks to:

  • Research and evaluate the relationship between health behaviours and outcomes
  • Measure and assess health behaviours and health outcomes
  • Examine factors that influence health and wellbeing
  • Design, implement and evaluate interventions to change behaviours and outcomes
  • Work collaboratively with external partners to translate evidence into policy and practice

Research Themes

We bring together researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines across the university including: public health, sport science, psychology, criminal justice, nursing and allied health professionals, pharmacy, education, arts and social sciences, computer science, pharmacy and bimolecular 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:

  • Health conditions and related factors
  • Paediatric medicines
  • Pregnancy, childbirth and infancy
  • Health behaviours and outcomes
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Children, young people and families at risk
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Digital
  • Creative research methodologies

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: 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 work closely with partner organisations in the private public and voluntary sectors.

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, World Health Organisation, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, and the European Paediatric Formulation Initiative. We also work with a range of charities and community foundations, such as the LFC Foundation and Sense.

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 Lawrence Foweather and Dr Emma Ashworth.