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PhD Scholarships: Nutrition

PhD Scholarships Wednesday 17 June 2015

Liverpool Hope had launched a series of PhD Scholarships and welcomes applications from outstanding individuals of a high calibre to pursue PhD research at Liverpool Hope University in selected areas. We are seeking confident, innovative postgraduates with a record of achievement to undertake a broad range of thematic and inter-disciplinary projects. This call is open to both UK/EU and international applicants.

You can find full details about the Scholarships (link) or you can also contact Research Officer Mr Chris Lowry quoting '2015 Vice-Chancellor's PhD Scholarships' for more information, by emailing researchdegrees@hope.ac.uk

The Scholarships available will be selected from a range of specific project. Over the coming weeks, www.hope.ac.uk will profile the details of these areas of research.

An investigation into the body composition, nutritional status and fitness of elite Hurling players in Ireland

Principal Investigator: Dr Farzad Amirabdollahian amirabf@hope.ac.uk

The overall aim of the study is to investigate body composition, health and dietary measures of nutritional status, and validated measures of fitness of elite athletes and to propose nutrition and health recommendations based on the findings. This is very likely that the project will be focused on hurling; however the decision will be finalised considering the profile of the candidates.

Hurling is considered, as this is one of the national sports of Ireland and one of the fastest games on grass. Although physiological requirements of hurling sport places heavy demands on energy, there are no extensive previous published evidence on nutritional status and dietary requirements of hurling players. The proposed research study will therefore aim to address this substantial gap in knowledge as well as adding new evidence to existing body of knowledge using multidisciplinary expertise, comprehensive nutrition and sport physiology laboratories and the methodology previously successfully implemented in this field.

The supervisory team has extensive expertise in conducting research in elite sport populations, in overall and segmental body composition assessment using a bioelectrical impedance analyser and assessment of the nutritional status using various clinical measures. This is an exciting PhD interlinking nutrition and sport and it is anticipated that the findings of the proposed study will be disseminated in various national and international conferences, professional bodies’ meetings and events, and high-impact peer-review journals.

An investigation into the interrelationship between stress, psychological wellbeing, eating behaviour and nutritional status

Principal Investigator: Dr Farzad Amirabdollahian amirabf@hope.ac.uk

In the UK, the total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2013/14 was around half a million cases, constituting 39% of all work-related illnesses. Reducing workplace stress has positive impact on wellbeing and productivity of the workforce. Rapid growth of number of cases of work-related stress parallels high prevalence of obesity. However, an association between these conditions has been hardly investigated. Stress is known to affect wellbeing, in particular, via its association with unhealthy eating behaviour and poor nutritional status. While this association is often investigated in physiological terms, limited research investigated the psychological perspective.

The aim is to explore the interrelationship between psychological wellbeing, workplace stress, eating behaviour and nutritional status, in the framework of self-determination theory, in participants from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Participant recruitment targeting at employees and students from HEIs will be facilitated through the Association for Nutrition NW Network consisting of six Universities in the NW region. Psychometric measures of wellbeing will be assessed using measures of the Workplace Basic Need Satisfaction (WBNS) employed in the previous feasibility study. Further validated questionnaires will be used to assess stress (acute, chronic and burnout), vitality and eating behaviour. Multisensory Sensewear armband will be used to assess physical activity, lifestyle and sleep behaviour of the participants. Nutritional status including physical measures such as Body Mass Index and blood pressure of will be evaluated using validated techniques; while blood glucose and lipid profiles will be assessed through employing fasting capillary measurements. Nutrient intake of participants including intakes of energy, water, macronutrients and micronutrients will be assessed from a 4-day validated food diary with clear user guidelines provided to participants.

The intakes will be compared against the up-to-date Dietary Reference Values set up for the UK population. Association between the subjective and objective measures delineated above will be investigated using regression analysis. Particular focus of the exploration will be on the impact -- direct, or mediating, or moderating – of stress and basic need satisfaction, to develop a model of association of eating behaviour and nutritional status with psychological factor, in the framework of self-determination theory. Apart from the measures mentioned, the team is exploring adding additional biomarkers to give further depth to the assessment of nutritional status and psychometric measures.

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