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Professor Louisa Ells - Leeds Beckett. Leeds, England, GB

Professor Louisa Ells

Professor of Obesity | Leeds Beckett

Leeds, England, UNITED KINGDOM

Louisa has specialised in applied obesity research for the past two decades.



Louisa is a registered public health nutritionist with a specialist interest in multi-disciplinary, cross-sector applied obesity research. Her research focuses on obesity related public health, service evaluation, lived experience and inequalities, delivered using systematic reviewing, mixed method, coproduction and person-centred approaches.

Louisa joined Leeds Beckett University in May 2020 as Professor of Obesity, working in the nutrition and dietetic team and co-leads the Leeds Beckett flagship Obesity Institute. She has a specialist interest in the development of public and patient involvement and engagement (PPIE) and co-founded ‘Obesity Voices’ the Leeds Becket PPIE hub for people living with or affected by obesity.

She is also the Principal Investigator for the NIHR CRN funded Yorkshire Obesity Research Alliance (YORA), as well as several high profile NIHR funded evaluations of NHS services, including the national Pathway to Remission programme. She has been an invited expert for the NICE Centre for Guidelines, sits on the European Association for the Study of Obesity Nutrition working group, and was specialist academic advisor to Public Health England.

Louisa has specialised in applied obesity research for the past two decades, working across academia, policy, and practice, having previously worked at the North East Public Health Observatory and was a founding member of the National Obesity Observatory.

Louisa is passionate about research coproduction: working with policy, practice and community partners to co-develop research solutions to address real world problems. She has worked on projects with a combined income exceeding £11 million, and has a strong publication record, and established network of international collaborations spanning Europe, the USA, Canada, and Australia.

Areas of Expertise (4)



Public Health

Weight Management

Articles (5)

The effectiveness of e‐health interventions for the treatment of overweight or obesity in children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

Obesity Reviews

2021 The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the effectiveness of ehealth interventions for the treatment of children and adolescents with overweight or obesity. Databases were searched up to November 2020. Studies were randomised controlled trials where interventions were delivered via e-health (e.g. computers, tablets, smartphones, but not phone calls). Studies should target the treatment of overweight or obesity in children or their agent of changes and report BMI or BMI-z score. A meta-analysis using a random-effects model was conducted. Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria, and 60% were of high quality. The narrative review revealed variation in behaviour change strategies and modes of delivery.

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Evidence-based behaviour change techniques recommended for healthy weight services to support families with children aged 4 to 11 years

Public Health England

2020 Behaviour change techniques for healthy weight services to support families with children aged 4-11 years Changing behaviour in families 2 About Public Health England Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. We do this through world-leading science, research, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. We are an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, and a distinct delivery organisation with operational autonomy. We provide government, local government, the NHS, Parliament, industry and the public with evidence-based professional, scientific and delivery expertise and support.

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School food provision in England: A historical journey

Nutrition Bulletin

2019 School food provision is an important lever to shape the eating behaviours and dietary intake of school‐aged children and young people, and may help to address issues of childhood obesity, inadequate nutrient intakes and the widening gap of health inequalities. The regulation of school food has been an issue since the 1940s, with the challenges of developing a school food policy that supports health and wellbeing and that can be effectively translated in practice remaining to the present day. This paper examines changes to school food provision in England since the 1940s, with regard to the political structure and decisions made by each respective government. It considers the lessons learned from the development of school food policies over this period and possible ways to improve the standards of school food in the future.

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Socio-Ecological Influences on Adolescent (Aged 10–17) Alcohol Use and Unhealthy Eating Behaviours: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of Qualitative Studies


2019 Excess body weight and risky alcohol consumption are two of the greatest contributors to global disease. Alcohol use contributes directly and indirectly to weight gain. Health behaviours cluster in adolescence and track to adulthood. This review identified and synthesised qualitative research to provide insight into common underlying factors influencing alcohol use and unhealthy eating behaviours amongst young people aged 10–17. Sixty two studies met inclusion criteria. Twenty eight studies focused on alcohol; 34 focused on eating behaviours. Informed by principles of thematic analysis and meta-ethnography, analysis yielded five themes: (1) use of alcohol and unhealthy food to overcome personal problems; (2) unhealthy eating and alcohol use as fun experiences; (3) food, but not alcohol, choices are based on taste; (4) control and restraint; and (5) demonstrating identity through alcohol and food choices.

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Effectiveness of individual and group programmes to treat obesity and reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors in pre‐pubertal children

Clinical Obesity

2019 Childhood obesity results in premature atherosclerosis and requires early intervention. Compare the effectiveness of 6‐month lifestyle interventions (with choice of either individual or group therapy) with standard care on body mass index (BMI) z‐score and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks factors in children with obesity. This 6‐month randomized controlled trial with a 6‐month follow‐up included 74 pre‐pubertal children with obesity (7.5‐11.9 years) assigned randomly (2:1) to intervention or control. Families in the intervention arm choose between an individually delivered treatment (3 hours paediatrician + 4 hours dietician) or group treatment (35 hours with a multidisciplinary team).

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