PhD Studentship: Infant and toddler portion size; a role for parents?

University of Bristol - School of Experimental Psychology

A three-year fully-funded PhD studentship is available from September 2018 at the University of Bristol, U.K.

The Project

According to the National Child Measurement Programme, in 2016-2017, almost a quarter of children were classified as overweight or obese by the time that they began attending school (4-5 years). Recent research has demonstrated that a larger meal size at 21 months is associated cross-sectionally with a higher weight and is also associated with a greater weight gain between two to five years (Syrad et al., 2016). In the U.K., children are typically introduced to solid foods at six months. Parents tend to select portions for their children and often encourage them to eat everything served. Notably, there is no official portion size guidance at this time, with parents instructed to “use your own judgement”. Implicit in this guidance is that children are responsive to satiety cues, will indicate these feelings to their parents, and that parents will respond appropriately. The goal of this PhD project is to investigate the portion sizes being served by parents to weaning infants and to toddlers and to explore the psychological predictors of parents’ portion size choices for their child. A key area of interest is the relationship between the portion size preferences of the primary care giver and those of their child.

The project will be based in the School of Experimental Psychology (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/expsych/) in the new Faculty of Life Sciences (inaugurated 1st August 2018) at the University of Bristol. The successful candidate will work in the Nutrition and Behaviour Unit (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/expsych/research/brain/nbu/), a state-of-the-art facility for researching appetite and weight control with strong interdisciplinary collaborative links with the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle (http://www.uhbristol.nhs.uk/research-innovation/our-research/bristol-nutrition-bru/).

The student

The PhD studentship is open to UK and EU applicants. Candidates should demonstrate an outstanding academic track record and be motivated to complete a PhD in three years. The student will be expected to design and undertake experimental studies and to analyse data using appropriate statistical methods. Publication of research findings is encouraged. There will be opportunities for the student to guide the project in a direction of their choosing.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project at http://www.bris.ac.uk/pg-howtoapply. Please select <PhD Experimental Psychology> on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of the studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form. Please enter “Infant and toddler portion size; a role for parents?”. Please also make sure to upload a CV, personal statement and two completed references. It is anticipated that interviews will be held on Monday 18th June 2018.

Candidate requirements:  Minimum UK Upper Second Class Honours or international equivalent in Psychology, Nutrition, Food Science or a cognate subject. MSc degree is desirable but not essential.

Funding:  The successful candidate will receive fees plus annual maintenance stipend for three years at RCUK standard stipend rates (http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/skills/training/

Contacts:  For more information, please contact Dr Dani Ferriday (Email: danielle.ferriday@bristol.ac.uk)

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South West England