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Optimising health behaviours for wellbeing

Adding life to years

Behaviour change (including healthy eating, physical activity, non-smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, medication adherence, sleep and socialisation), promotes human flourishing and health and reduces the risk of premature disease by up to 70%.

Norwich Institute of Healthy Ageing (NIHA) develops and implements effective strategies to promote sustained population behaviour change, in order to improve physical and mental wellbeing. We are inter-disciplinary in our approach, examining human behaviours in an integrated way and delivering large-scale cohort and (pragmatic) intervention studies.

Furthermore, we consider the food-environment-health trilemma and the need to view the environmental and health impact of food holistically through food systems thinking.

A key question in all our ‘endeavours’ is how to deliver research impact by effectively informing health policy, product and service innovation, economic growth and ultimately population well being.

NIHA is a collaboration between Norwich City Council, UEA Health & Social Care Partners (HSCP), Norfolk County CouncilNNUH, John Innes Centre, UEA (led by the Faculty of Medicine and Health), Quadram Institute of Bioscience and the Earlham Institute.


Our key themes are:

  • Population-based interventions
  • Longitudinal cohort studies
  • Integrated behaviours
  • Discovery science
  • Cross Cutting theme: Impact and Implementation

(see Themes page for further information)

Examples of our ongoing work are:

  • COVID-19 Wellbeing Tracker Study (led by Dr Caitlin Notley): In rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have initiated a study, which tracks participant’s health behaviours and wellbeing during the period of sweeping changes to health care and social restrictions. It is anticipated that our findings will inform public health modelling, future commissioning of health and wellbeing services and will contribute to policy planning for future pandemic crises.
  • Norfolk Arthritis Register (NOAR) (led by Prof Alex McGregor): A cohort of people with different types of Inflammatory Polyarthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis). It began in 1989 and has recruited over 4000 incident cases.
  • MedEx, Diet, Physical Activity and dementia risk in UK adults: Epidemiology and UK feasibility study (led by Prof Anne Marie Minihane): involving UEA, Newcastle, Birmingham and Aberdeen funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and the MRC
  • Other UEA/NRP based projects and local government based projects

For further information please email Dr Karen Smith (Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk) or complete the ‘Contact us’ enquiry form on the homepage.