Health and the Environment Research Theme

The Health and Environment Group has been established to pursue research, teaching and knowledge transfer activities associated with the study of interactions between the environment, health and health care. The group is open to staff and students in the School, and we will also welcome members of staff and students in other departments who would like to participate.  For enquiries please contact theme lead Sarah Barnes (

ScHARR students

  • Carolyn Auma (Grantham Centre studentship 2015-2018) The Impact of Rural to Urban Migration on the Sustainability of Urban Diets in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Fiona Graham (Grantham Centre studentship 2014-2017) Integrating healthy and sustainable diets in University canteens
  • Deborah Harrop (Faculty Studentship 2016-2022) Relationship between garden environments and quality of life in care homes for older people
  • Bruce Moore (2017-2020) The social construction of sheltered housing
  • Edet Otu Modelling geographic access to healthcare in Nigeria

Alice Street Community Gardens by SPUR on Flickr, CC-BY-2.0,

Our interests

• Natural environments and green spaces
• Built and urban environments
• Food and obesogenic environments
• Environments and health inequalities
• Physical environment (air, water, soil, radiation)
• Climate change and disaster management

Key publications and presentations

A longer list of publications can be found here

Natural environments and green spaces

Lee A, Jordan H C, Horsley J. (in press). The value of urban green spaces in promoting healthy living and wellbeing: prospects for planning. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy.

Lee A, Maheswaran R. The health benefits of green spaces: A review of the evidence. Journal of Public Health 2011; 33(2): 212-222.

Built and urban environments

Easton S. Featured graphic. Parental ‘choice’ and socio-spatial segregation in a UK city: access to the best state‑funded secondary schools for Black Somali pupils. Environment and Planning A 2015, 47: 2021– 2022.

Barnes S, Piegaze-Lindquist K, Torrington J M. Does the design of hospitals meet the needs of older patients and their carers? Journal of Architectural Planning and Research 2016; 33(2): 91-104.

Orrell A, McKee K, Torrington J, Barnes S, Lewis A, Netten A, Darton R. The relationship between building design and residents’ quality of life in extra care housing schemes. Health and Place 2013; 21: 62-24.

Food and obesogenic environments

M Hobbs; C Griffiths; M Green; H Jordan; J McKenna. Associations between the physical activity and food environment and obesity: a cross sectional study of UK adults. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2016; 70(Suppl 1):A78.2-A78

M Hobbs, C Griffiths, M Green, H Jordan, J Saunders, J McKenna. How different data sources and definitions of neighbourhood influence the association between food outlet availability and body mass index: a cross-sectional study. Perspectives in Public Health; 2016 (DOI: 10.1177/1757913916650916).

Green M A, Subramanian S V, Strong M, Cooper C, Loban A, Bissell P. 'Fish out of water': A cross-sectional study on the interaction between social and neighbourhood effects on weight management behaviours. International Journal of Obesity 39, 535-541, 2015

Holdsworth M, Maire B, Delpeuch F (2010) How does the obesogenic environment impact on climate change? European Childhood Obesity Group. Brussels, 18th Nov (Belgium). Published in Public Health Nutrition 2012; (15): p1528, Special Issue 8A (ECOG 2010 and beyond – Taking childhood obesity off the menu)

Relton C, Strong M, Holdsworth M. Plastic food packaging encourages obesity. BMJ 2012; 344: 31

Environments and health inequalities

Green M A, Subramanian S V, Vickers D, Dorling D. Internal migration, area effects and health: Does where you move to impact upon your health? Social Science and Medicine 2015; 136:27-34.

Maheswaran R, Pearson T, Strong M, Clifford P, Brewins L, Wight J. Assessing the impact of selective migration and care homes on geographical inequalities in health - a total population cohort study in Sheffield. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 2014;10:85-97.

Physical environment (air, water, soil, radiation)

Bridge J, Oliver D, Chadwick D, Godfray HC, Heathwaite A L, Kay D, Maheswaran R, McGonigle D F, Nichols G, Pickup R, Porter J, Wastling J, Banwart S A. Engaging with the water sector for public health benefits: waterborne pathogens and diseases in developed countries. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2010;88:873-5.

Maheswaran R, Pearson T, Beevers SD, Campbell MJ, Wolfe CD. Outdoor air pollution, subtypes and severity of ischemic stroke - a small-area level ecological study. International Journal of Health Geographics 2014;13:23.

Climate change and disaster management

Lee A C K. Local perspectives on humanitarian aid in Sri Lanka after the tsunami. Public Health 2008; 122 (12): 1410-1417.

Lee A C K. Same problems that dogged tsunami response bedevil humanitarian aid today. The Conversation. Dec 26, 2014.

Lee A C K. Nepal quake: the challenges facing disaster response. The Conversation. Apr 27, 2015.