Professor Michelle Holdsworth PhD, RD, RNutr (Public Health)


Honorary Professor

The University of Sheffield
Section of Public Health
ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research)
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA


ORCiD: 0000-0001-6028-885X


I am an Honorary Professor of Public Health at the School of Health & Related Research (ScHARR). I joined ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research) in 2011 and was a Professor of Public Health (Nutrition) and led the Food and Nutrition research group in the School until July 2019.

I studied human nutrition as an undergraduate and then completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics.  After working in various NHS community and public health posts, I developed research interests in incorporating the use of evidence to community nutrition interventions and went on to study for a PhD in Public Health. Since then I have pursued a career in academic public health nutrition, working for 4 years at the University of Nottingham, as Lecturer then Associate Professor. 

Since August 2019 I rejoined the French National Institute of Research for Sustainable Development (IRD) in Montpelier, France where I worked previously for 8 years.  I work as a Senior Civil Servant Researcher - conducting research and capacity building work in public health nutrition, mainly in francophone Africa.  I have advised various research bodies globally about research strategy development, as well as being invited on numberous occasions to speak about my research overseas.

Research Interests

I have over 20 years post-doctoral research experience, which has involved working in different cultural contexts (especially the UK, France and Africa.

  • Dietary transition in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and its impact on all forms of malnutrition and environmental sustainability;
  • Evidence-informed policy and intervention development for obesity, nutrition-related NCDs and double-duty actions in LMICs.

My research approach uses a socio-ecological approach to investigate the determinants of dietary behaviour of individuals within society, physical and macro-level environments, followed by studies of policy development that directly feed into informing preventive strategies.

  • Individual level determinants of diet (e.g. attitudes, preferences, knowledge; skills; socio-demographic factors; BMI.
  • Social environments (e.g. social practices, social norms, social capital, social networks, cost).
  • Physical food environments (e.g. food environments in neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces).
  • Policy environment (e.g. societal cultural norms and values, marketing, government and stakeholder 'readiness').

Teaching Interests

Until July 2019, I was Director of the MPH in European Public Health (part of the Erasmus Mundus EuroPubHealth programme).  I was Director of Learning and Teaching for ScHARR 2013 until 2016 with strategic responsibility for our 14 Masters programmes in health. I established the Masters of Public Health (online) in 2011.  I continue to teach on the 'Nutrition in the Global South' module led by Dr Robert Akparibo. I supervise several PhD students registered in ScHAAR.

Professional Activities

I am a Registered Nutritionist (with the UKVRN) and Registered Dietitian (HCPC) in the UK.  I am also a member of the UK Nutrition Society (International Nutrition and Public Health themes) and International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.  I am Associate Editor for Public Health Nutrition journal.

Current Research Projects

  • MEALS4NCDs: Measuring the healthiness of Ghanaian children’s food environments to prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases. Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). PI: Amos Laar, University of Ghana; 2019-2022. I am a CI and WP lead.
  • Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Program Dietary transitions in Ghanaian cities: mapping the factors in the social and physical food environments that drive consumption of energy dense nutrient-poor foods and beverages, to identify interventions targeting women and adolescent girls throughout the reproductive life course; 2017-2019.  Role PI.
  • TACLED project: Transitions in African Cities Leveraging Evidence for Diet-related non communicable diseases This is a MRC-led Foundation Award to study dietary transitions in African cities in Ghana and Kenya. Foundation Awards represent the MRC's first phase of research funding anticipated from the £1.5bn Global Challenges Research Fund. This interdisciplinary partnership of ten co-applicants from five academic institutions across Ghana, Kenya and the UK. The project runs 2017-2019. Role PI.
  • 'Developing tools to implement and evaluate interventions to promote healthy diets in Ghana that prevent all forms of malnutrition' (ODA HEFCE); (2017-18).  I lead the project.
  • MRC Research Grant.  The FRESH Street Project: Developing an area (street) based cash transfer scheme to promote healthy eating communities in areas of high deprivation in the UK, 2017-19.  I am a co-investigator.
  • MRC NINO LIP - UK-Africa network to improve the nutrition of infants and young children living in poverty (NINO LIP) in urbanising sub-Saharan African countries. 2018-19.  I am a co-investigator.

Recent Projects

  • The Evidence-informed Decision-making in Nutrition and Health (EVIDENT) partnership - was an international network of North-South partners that aimed to use existing evidence to also enhance evidence-informed decision making and policy-driven research in nutrition and health in Africa (2013-16).
  • Health Promoting responses to climate change Climate change and non-communicable diseases share a mutual theme - excessive energy use. 
  • Health Outcomes of Migration Events  This project brought together researchers with a wide range of expertise, including innovative methodological approaches, nutrition, non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, epidemiology, and demography. .
  • Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity (DEDIPAC) Knowledge Hub Funded by the EC. To understand the determinants of dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviours across Europe. I was task leader investigating social inequalities in dietary and physical activity determinants, especially in migrant populations in Europe. DEDIPAC is a multidisciplinary consortium of scientists from 46 research centres in 12 countries across Europe.
  • Social Networks and Obesity
    The role of social networks in preventing obesity investigated the social determinants of obesity in deprived communities with a focus on the role of family, intergenerational and community social networks.  I led the project. (2012-2013)
  • SUNRAY (Sustainable Nutrition Research for Africa in years to come) Funded by the EC (Framework 7) to investigate sustainable solutions to improve nutritional status in Africa - tackling obesity and under-nutrition.  My main contribution was to use Multi-Criteria Mapping to explore stakeholders' viewpoints for a new nutrition research strategy for Africa. (2011-2013)
  • ALIMI (Food culture and migration in France, Mali and Morocco), financed by the French National Research Council.  Coordinated by the Food Sociology team of the School of Higher Studies in Social Science (EHESS-CNRS) Paris.  I led on the aspects assessing changing body size norms (2009-2013).
  • OBE-MAGHREB (Understanding nutrition transition in the Maghreb to prevent obesity and chronic disease) funded by the French Ministry of Overseas Affairs and DG International Development and Cooperation).  Conducted in Morocco and Tunisia.  I led on assessing stakeholder views of policy options to prevent obesity using a Multi-Criteria mapping approach. (2007-2012).

PhD Supervision

I supervise several research students for their PhDs  in topics related to my research interests above.

Publications (last 5 years) Please see full publication list here

Rousham E, Pradeilles R, Akparibo R, Aryeetey R, Bash K, Booth A, Muthuri S, Osei-Kwasi HA, Marr C, Norris T, Holdsworth M, (2019) Dietary behaviours in the context of the nutrition transition: a systematic review and meta-systemic reiview analysis in two African countries.  Public Health Nutrition.  In Press.

Osei-Kwasi HA, Boateng D, Danquah I, Holdsworth M, Mejean M, Terragni L, Powell K, Schulze MB, Owusu-Dabo E, Meeks K, Beune E, Agyemang C, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Stronks K, Galbete C, Nicolaou M (2019). Acculturation and food intake among Ghanaian migrants in Europe: findings from the RODAM study. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. In press.

Osei-Kwasi H, Nicolaou M, Powell K, Holdsworth M (2019) "I cannot sit here and eat alone when I know a fellow Ghanaian is suffering": Perceptions of food insecurity among Ghanaian migrants. Appetite. 140, 190-196. 10.1016/j.appet.2019.05.018

Pradeilles R, Kearney CM, Laar A, Holdsworth M, Zotor F, tandoh A, Bash K, Klomegah S, Griffiths P, (2019) How ready are communities to implement actions to improve diets of adolescent girls and women in urban Ghana? BMC Public Health.  19:646

Graham G, Russell J, Holdsworth M, Menon M, Barker M.  (2019)  Exploring the Relationship between Environmental Impact and Nutrient content of Sandwiches and Beverages Available in Cafes in a UK University.  Sustainability.  11,3190; doi:10.3390/su11113190

Auma Cl, Pradeilles R, Blake MK, Holdsworth M (2019) What Can Dietary patterns tell us about the Nutrition Transition and Environmental Sustainability of Diets in Uganda? Nutrients.  Published online.  2nd Fecruty 2019  DOI: 10.3390/nu11020342

Holdsworth M and Landais E (2019) Urban food environments in Africa: implications for policy and research.  Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.  Published online: 28 January 2019 (p1-13).  doit:10.1017/S0029665118002938

Pradeilles R, Baye K, Holdsworth M. (2018)  Addressing malnutrition in low-and milddle-income countries with double duty actions.  Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.  Published  online:  31 October 2018.

Cohen E, Gradidge PJL< Ndao  A, Duboz P, Macia E, Gueye L, Boetsch G, Pasquet P, Holdsworth M, Chapuis-Lucciani N (2018)  Biocultural determinants of overweight and obesity in the context of nutrition transition in Ssenegal: a holistic anthroplogical approach.  Journal of Biosocial Science.

Bissell P, Peacock M, Holdsworth M, Powell K, Wilcox J, Clonan A (2018) Introducing the idea of 'assumed shared food narratives' in the contect of social networks: reflections from a qualitative study conducted in Nottingham, England.  Sociology of Health & Illness. 40 (7): 1142-1155.

Roberts L. Cade K. Dawson J, Holdsworth M. (2018) Empirically Derived Dietary Patterns in UK Adults Are Associated with Sociodemographic Characteristics, Lifestyle, and Diet Quality.  Nutrients. 6:10(20).

Holdsworth M, Nicolaou M, Langøien LJ, Osei-Kwasi HA, Chastin SFM, Stok FM, Capranica L, Lien N, Terragni L, Monsivais P, Mazzocchi M, Maes L, Roos G, Mejean C, Powell K, Stronks K (2017) Developing a systems-based framework of the factors influencing dietary and physical activity behaviours in ethnic minority populations living in Europe - a DEDIPAC study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity;14(1):154.

Horton P, Banwart S, Brown G, Bruce R, Cameron D, Holdsworth M, Koh L, Ton J, Jackson P (2017) An agenda for integrated system-wide interdisciplinary agri-food research. Food Security 1-16.

Méjean C, Si Hassen W, Gojard S, Ducrot P, Lampuré A, Brug H, Lien N, Nicolaou M, Holdsworth M, Terragni L, Hercberg S, Castetbon K (2017) Social disparities in food preparation behaviours: a DEDIPAC study. Nutrition Journal. 16(1):62. doi: 10.1186/s12937-017-0281-2.

Aryeetey R, Holdsworth M, Taljaard C, Hounkpatin WA, Colecraft E, Lachat C, Nago E, Hailu T, Kolsteren P, Verstraeten R (2017) Evidence-informed decision making for nutrition: African experiences and way forward. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 1-8.

Langøien LJ, Terragni L, Rugseth G, Nicolaou M, Holdsworth M, Stronks K, Lien N, Roos G; DEDIPAC consortium (2017) Systematic mapping review of the factors influencing physical activity and sedentary behaviour in ethnic minority groups in Europe: a DEDIPAC study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 24;14(1):99. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0554-3.

Cohen E, Amougou N, Ponty A, Loinger-Beck J, Nkuintchua T, Monteillet N, Bernard JY, Saïd-Mohamed R, Holdsworth M, Pasquet P (2017) Nutrition Transition and Biocultural Determinants of Obesity among Cameroonian Migrants in Urban Cameroon and France. International Journal Environmental Research and Public Health. 14(7). pii: E696. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14070696

Gissing SC, Pradeilles R, Osei-Kwasi H, Cohen E, Holdsworth M. (2017) Drivers of dietary behaviors in women living in urban Africa – a systematic mapping review. Public Health Nutrition. 20(12):2104-2113.

Osei-Kwasi HA, Powell K, Nicolaou M, Holdsworth M. (2017) The influence of migration on dietary practices of Ghanaians living in the United Kingdom: A qualitative study. Annals of Human Biology. 44(5):454-463.

Stok FM, Hoffmann S, Volkert D, Boeing H, Ensenauer R, Stelmach-Mardas M, Kiesswetter E, Weber A, Rohm H, Lien N, Brug J, Holdsworth M, Renner B (2017). The DONE framework: Creation, evaluation, and updating of an interdisciplinary, dynamic framework 2.0 of determinants of nutrition and eating. PLoS One.12(2):e0171077. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171077.

Diaz E, Ortiz Barreda G, Ben-Shlomo Y, Holdsworth M, Salami B, Rammohan A, Yat-Nork Chung R, Padmadas SS, Krafft T(2017). Interventions to improve immigrant health. A scoping review. European Journal of Public Health. 27(3):433-439

Akparibo R, Harris J, Blank L, Campbell M, Holdsworth M. (2017) Severe acute malnutrition in childred aged under 5 years can be successfully managed in a non-emergency routine community healthcare setting in Ghana. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 10. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12417.

Sullivan RK, Marsh S, Halvarsson J, Holdsworth M, Waterlander W, Poelman MP, Salmond JA, Christian H, Koh LS, Cade JE, Spence JC, Woodward A, Maddison R (2016) Smartphone Apps for Measuring Human Health and Climate Change Co-Benefits: A Comparison and Quality Rating of Available Apps. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 4(4):e135.

Condello G, Ling FC, Bianco A, Chastin S, Cardon G, Ciarapica D, Conte D, Cortis C, De Craemer M, Di Blasio A, Gjaka M, Hansen S, Holdsworth M, et al., (2016). Using concept mapping in the development of the EU-PAD framework (EUropean-Physical Activity Determinants across the life course): a DEDIPAC-study. BMC Public Health. 9;16(1):1145.

Osei-Kwasi HA, Nicolaou M, Powell K, Terragni L, Maes L, Stronks K, Lien N, Holdsworth M (2016) Systematic mapping review of the factors influencing dietary behaviour in ethnic minority groups living in Europe: a DEDIPAC study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 13(1):85. doi: 10.1186/s12966-016-0412-8.

Verstraeten R, Leroy JL, Pieniak Z, Ochoa-Avilès A, Holdsworth M, Verbeke W, Maes L, Kolsteren P (2016) Individual and Environmental Factors Influencing Adolescents' Dietary Behavior in Low- and Middle-Income Settings. PLoS One. 22;11(7):e0157744.

Chastin S, De Craemer M, Lien N, Bernaards C, Buck C, Oppert J, Nazare J, Lakerveld J, O’Donoghue G, Holdsworth M, Owen N, Brug J, Cardon G (2016) The SOS-framework (Systems of Sedentary behaviours): an international transdisciplinary consensus framework for the study of determinants, research priorities and policy on sedentary behaviour across the life course: a DEDIPAC-study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 13(1):83. doi: 10.1186/s12966-016-0409-3.

Hassen WS, Castetbon K, Cardon P, Enaux C, Nicolaou M, Lien N, Terragni L, Holdsworth M, Stronks K, Hercberg S, Méjean C (2016). Socioeconomic indicators are independently associated with nutrient intake in French adults: a DEDIPAC study. Nutrients. 8, 158; doi:10.3390/nu8030158.

Clonan A, Roberts KE and Holdsworth M (2016) Socioeconomic and demographic drivers of red and processed meat consumption: implications for health and environmental sustainability. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society;75(3):367-73. doi: 10.1017/S0029665116000100.

Cohen E, Ndao A, Boëtsch G, Gueye L, Pasquet P, Holdsworth M, Courtiol A (2015). The relevance of the side-view in body image scales for public health: an example from two African populations. BMC Public Health 15:1169. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-2511-x.

Powell K, Wilcox J, Clonan A, Bissell P, Preston L, Peacock M, Holdsworth M (2015). The role of social networks in the development of overweight and obesity among adults: a scoping review. BMC Public Health 15:996.

Lawrence M, Burlingame B, Caraher M, Holdsworth M, Nett R, Timotjevic L (2015) Public Health Nutrition and Sustainability.  Public Health Nutrition. 18(13): 2287-92.

Landais E, Bour A, Gartner A, McCullough F, Delpeuch F, Holdsworth M (2015) Socio-economic and behavioural determinants of fruit and vegetable intake in Moroccan women.  Public Health Nutrition: 18(5):809-16.

Hayati Adilin MAM, Holdsworth M, McCullough F, Swift JA, Norimah AK (2015) Whole school mapping to investigate the school environment's potential to promote a healthy diet and physical activity in Malaysia.  Malaysian Journal of Nutrition 21(1): 1-14.

Clonan A, Wilson P, Swift JA, Leibovici DG, Holdsworth M (2015) Red and processed meat consumption and purchasing behaviours and attitudes: impacts for human health, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.  Public Health Nutrition. 18(13):2446-56.

Lachat C, Roberfroid D, Van den Broeck L, Van den Briel N, Nago E, Kruger A, Holdsworth M, Garimoi Orach C, Kolsteren P (2015) A decade of nutrition research in Africa: assessment of the evidence base and academic collaboration.  Public Health Nutrition.  18(10):1890-7.

Holdsworth M, Kruger AM, Nago-Koukoubou E, Mamiro P, Smit K, Garimoi-Orach C, Kameli Y, Lachat C, Roberfroid D, Kolsteren P (2014) African stakeholder views of research options to improve nutritional status in sub-Saharan Africa in the years to come.  Health Policy and Planning.  30(7): 863-874.

Relton C, Li J, Strong M, Holdsworth M, Cooper R and Bissell P (2014) Deprivation, clubs and drugs: results of a UK regional population-based cross-sectional study of weight management strategies.  BMC Public Health 14:444
doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-444

Lachat C, Roberfoid D, van den Broeck L, Holdsworth M, van den Briel N, Nago E, Kruger AM, Garimoi Orach C, Kolsteren P (2014) Developing a sustainable nutrition research agenda in Africa in the years to come - findings from the SUNRAY project.  Plos Medicine, 11 (1): e1001593

Verstraeten R, Van Royen K, Ochoa-Aviles A, Penafiel D, Holdsworth M, Donoso S. Maes L, Kolseteren P (2013) A conceptual framework for healthy eating behaviour in Ecuadorian adolescents: a qualitative study.  Plos One.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087183

Van Royen K, Lachat C, Holdsworth M, Smit K, Kinabo J, Roberfroid D, Nago E, GarimoiOrach C, Kolsteren P (2013) How can operating environment for nutrition research be improved in sub-Saharan Africa?  The views of African researchers, Plos On.  Vol 8,1-9.

Landais E, Gartner A, Bour A, McCullough F, Delpeuch F, Holdsworth M.  (2013) Reproducibility and relative validity of a quantitative food frequency questionnaire for assessing fruit and vegetable intakes in North-African womenR.  Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 27(2):152-9.

Holdsworth M, Bour A, Elati J, Kameli Y,  Derouiche A, Millstone E, Delpeuch F. (2012) Developing national obesity policy in middle-income countries: a case study from North Africa.  Health Policy and Planning(2012 Dec 10) Epub ahead of print.

Clonan A, Holdsworth M.(2012) The challenges of eating a healthy and sustainable diet.  Editorial.
 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  96: 3 459-460

Verstraeten R, Roberfroid D, Lachat C, Leroy J, Holdsworth M, Maes L, Kolsteren K.(2012) Effectiveness of preventive school-based obesity interventions in low-and middle-income countries: a systematic review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 96:227-8

Relton C, Strong M, Holdsworth M. (2012) Plastic food packaging encourages obesity. British Medical Journal 344


Landais, E, Holdsworth M (2017) Food composition tables in: The Manual of Dietetic Practice. Ed. Gandy J. Blackwell Publishing. 6th edition

Holdsworth M, Aryeetey RNO, Jerling J, Taljaard C, Nago E, Colecraft E, Lachat C, Kolsteren P, Hailu T, Verstraeten R (2016). The challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in evidence-informed decision making in Africa 115-129. In Covic, N. and S. L. Hendriks (Eds). Achieving a Nutrition Revolution for Africa: The Road to Healthier Diets and Optimal Nutrition. ReSAKSS Annual Trends and Outlook Report 2015. International Food Policy Research Institute.

Holdsworth M, Bricas N (2016) Impact of Climate Change on Food Consumption and Nutrition.  In: Torquebiau Emmanuel (ed.).  Climate Change and Agriculture Worldwide. p. 227-238 Springer.

Holdsworth M, Bricas N (2015) In: Torquebiau Emmanuel. (ed). [Climate change: impact on diet and nutrition) in: 'Changement climatique et agricultures du monde'  Versailles: Ed. Quae.p.213-224. (Agriculture et defis du monde).

Webster-Gandy J, Madden A, Holdsworth M. (2011)
Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics
Oxford University Press.  Oxford Handbook Series 2nd edition. 

Delpeuch F, Maire B, Monnier E, Holdsworth M. (2009)
Globesity - a planet out of control.
Taylor and Francis Books