Key Research Areas

From our previous YORA events we have established four key research themes, listed below:

Emotional eating: It’s part of being human to eat in response to our feelings. All kinds of emotions can compel us to eat, from unwanted moods such as frustration, anxiety, worry or feeling down, to positive emotions like excitement, celebration or anticipation. Even neutral feelings such as boredom and apathy can be a cause to eat. In a world where we are often surrounded by food, eating can be a common response. Some of the research questions to investigate in this area include:

  • What is the role of disordered and emotional eating in weight management and how this is currently managed in weight management services for young people and young adults?
  • What is the cause vs consequence of emotional eating and obesity?

Research theme lead – Louisa Ells:


Food poverty & insecurity: Food poverty does not have a precise definition, but can be summarised as the inability of individuals and households to obtain an adequate and nutritious diet in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that they will able to do so. The term “food insecurity” is sometimes used instead. The causes of food poverty or insecurity are complex. It can affect those living on low incomes, but also people with limited access to transport, poor housing or physical or mental ill health. Some of the research questions to investigate in this area include:

  • How can food banks be tailored to encourage users to make healthy/healthier choices?
  • How do other types of low/zero-cost food providers (i.e. community shops) compare in terms of encouraging healthy food choices?

Research theme lead – Kristin Bash:


Children & young people: The environment can have significant effects on children and young people’s (C&YP) behaviour choices, such as food retail, parks, pedestrian areas, cycle lanes and it is vital that we explore what the environment for C&YP to flourish should look like. We believe that C&YP should be a target audience of the research in this area. Some of the research questions to investigate in this area include:

  • How could person centred approaches support teenagers / young people with body confidence, body image, self-belief? What interventions could be developed?
  • What are the influences on the food behaviours of teenagers?

Research theme lead – Catherine Homer:


Weight management strategies: Being overweight is the result of a complex set of interactions among genetic, behavioural, and environmental factors. While hundreds, if not thousands, of weight-loss strategies, diets, potions, and devices have been suggested, the multi-factorial aetiology of overweight challenges practitioners and researchers to identify permanent, effective strategies for weight loss and maintenance. Some of the research questions to investigate in this area include:

  • Why peer support is an effective model and it’s impact on health behavioural theories?
  • How does the information given to individuals affect their adherence to weight management programmes?

Research theme lead – Nicola Corrigan:

Within each of these research themes we have established working groups tasked with identifying potential partners and furthering conversations, with the ultimate aim of submitting proposals for funded research. If you have a particular interest in one or more of these themes and would like to join a working group, please contact the research theme lead for further information and to discuss how we can work together.


Ideas Incubator

Though the research themes discussed above are our current focus, we are open to new ideas for areas to investigate, as we are aware that research in this field is progressing rapidly. If you have any suggestions for other research areas that we should be investigating and prioritising, please add you suggestions here.