Professor Sarah Redsell

Professor of Public Health

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Nursing & Midwifery

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Nursing and midwifery , Health and wellbeing

Sarah Redsell's research primarily focuses on communication about aspects of health and well-being with parents of infants and children which includes developing and testing interventions for health professionals and service users.


Sarah's clinical background is in nursing and health visiting and a PhD in health psychology. She trained as a quantitative researcher but has subsequently acquired skills in qualitative methodology and methods. She has received substantial research income (over £1,000,000) as a Principal and Co-Investigator from diverse sources including the MRC, NIHR, NHS and charitable foundations. She has published around 40 papers in nursing, public health and medical journals and presented international conference papers and posters.

Sarah has developed a programme of research exploring ways of communicating with parents of infants around risk and prevention of childhood overweight and obesity. She has been Principal Investigator for several externally funded research projects, leading a multidisciplinary team comprising academics from the Universities of Nottingham and Lincoln and clinicians working for the UK NHS. Sarah led the Proactive Assessment of Obesity Risk during Infancy study (ProAsk) funded by the UK Medical Research Council. This project developed and tested a digital programme for health visitors to use with parents of infants to identify childhood overweight and obesity risk.

Research interests

  • Behavioural aspects of infant feeding and physical activity
  • Children and young people's health and well-being

Sarah's research interests emerged from clinical practice as a health visitor and academic exploration, discussion and debate. Her PhD looked at the provision of child patient information and she remains interested in exploring well-being from a child’s perspective and looking at ways in which we can convey complex issues to children.

Sarah worked as a health visitor in Nottingham in the early 1990s before entering academia. About six years ago she read a paper that proposed that obesity risk could be identified very early in a baby’s life. She began to investigate whether and how this scientific evidence could be communicated to parents of infants in practice. Sarah is keen to progress this work further and to contribute to the development of interventions that focus on psychosocial needs. She remains interested in aspects of clinical communication in any setting but particularly with parents of infants.

Areas of research supervision

Sarah would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Behavioural aspects of infant feeding and physical activity
  • Children and young people’s health and well-being
Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:
  • Telling their Story: Perspectives of Young Women, Their Caregivers and Service Providers Regarding the Experiences of Growing Up with Perinatally-Acquired HIV in Malawi, University of Nottingham, August 2014
  • Childhood survivors of acute life threatening critical illness: Exploring and understanding long term psychosocial wellbeing. NIHR funded studentship, University of Nottingham. April 2015
  • Helping our Infants Onto Better Motor Skills, evaluation of an educational intervention for parents of pre-term infants, University of Nottingham (current)
  • A male perspective: a qualitative exploration of overweight and obese adult men’s perception of body weight, health and weight management programmes, University of Nottingham (current)
  • Obesity risk communication during infancy (current)
  • Motivational Interviewing for antiretroviral adherence in Nigeria: A feasibility study (current)
  • Development of an information platform for pregnant women who are overweight/obese (current)
  • Why do people not take prescribed medicines? A qualitative study examining the intentional modification and non-use of treatment (current)


Sarah taught Behavioural Science modules to undergraduate medical students at the University of Nottingham between 1995-2000. She also taught clinical audit to undergraduate medical students at the University of Leicester Medical School from 2000-2004. 

Sarah has supervised and acted as internal examiner for third year undergraduate and Masters projects at the universities of Nottingham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin (Masters only). She has conducted postgraduate internal reviews and assessment of PhD confirmation reviews. Since 2006, Sarah has supervised students at PhD level  and also acted as internal and external examiner for PhDs.


  • Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology (2:1), University of Loughborough, 1993
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Health Psychology), Faculty of Medicine, The University of Nottingham, 2000.
  • Registered General Nurse (RGN) Brook General Hospital, London, 1984
  • Diploma in Professional Studies/Registered Health Visitor, Nottingham Trent University, 1994
  • Chartered Health Psychologist, 2003.

Memberships, editorial boards

Associate Editor – Quality in Primary Care (2009-2014).

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Glazebrook, C., Redsell, S.A., Johnson, S., Beer, C., Westwater-Wood, S., Budge, H., Wharrad, H. Development and evaluation of a multimedia parenting intervention to promote motor development in infants born very preterm. Action Medical Research/ Henry Smith Charity. 1 April 2010 - 30 September 2012. £116,044.

Redsell, S.A. Systematic review and development/validation of an Infant Risk Factor Checklist (IROC) for the prevention of childhood obesity. NHS Nottinghamshire County PCT Flexibility and Sustainability. 1 April 2010 - 31 July 2012. £10,000.

Redsell, S.A., Glazebrook, C., Swift, J., Siriwardena, N., Pathmanathan, D., Yang, M., Weng, S. (plus clinicians from Nottingham CityCare Partnership). Systematic review of behavioural and non-behavioural interventions to prevent childhood obesity and development of a guideline for health visitors to use with parents at risk of developing childhood obesity. Burdett Trust for Nursing. 1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013. £49,966.

Glazebrook, C., Weng, S., Sayer, K., Redsell, S.A., Nathan, D., Swift, J. External validation of the Infant Risk of Obesity Checklist (IROC). Nottingham/Leicestershire CLAHRC-NDL (NIHR) 1 February 2013 – 31 August 2013. £8,000.

Jackson, C., Cheater, F.M., Emslie, C., Gallagher, B., Kerr, S., Lewis, H., Mytton, J., Condon, L., Shepherd, C., Smith, L., Vousden, L., Redsell, S., Bedford, H., Schicker, F. Understanding the barriers and facilitators to immunisation uptake in Traveller communities to inform interventions to promote uptake: An ecological approach. NIHR – HTA 12/17/05. 1 September 2013 - 31 October 2015. £358,115.12

Redsell, S.A., Glazebrook, C., Wharrad, H., Swift, J., Weng, S., Nathan, D., Siriwardena, A.N.S., Lakshman, R., Ong, K., McMaster, F. Development and feasibility testing of an interactive, educational programme to facilitate Proactive Assessment of Obesity Risk during Infancy (ProAsk). Medical Research Council – Public Health Intervention Development PH01/14-15. 1 September 2014 - 28 February 2016. £151,576

Lymn, J., Field-Richards, S., Spiby, H., Callaghan, P., Keeley, P., Redsell, S.A., Andrew, S. Evaluation of the Impact of care Experience Prior to Undertaking NHS Funded Education and Training. Department of Health – Policy Research Programme. 1 September 2014 - 31 August 2018. £324,978.

Selected recent publications

Jackson C, Dyson L, Bedford H, Cheater FM, Condon L, Crocker A, Emslie C, Ireland L, Kemsley P, Kerr S, Lewis HJ, Mytton J, Overend K, Redsell S, Richardson Z, Shepherd C, Smith L. UNderstanding uptake of Immunisations in TravellIng aNd Gypsy communities (UNITING): a qualitative interview study Health Technology Assessment 20 (72), September 2016,

Hughes AJ, Redsell SA, Glazebrook C. Motor Development Interventions for Preterm Infants: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pediatrics.2016;138(4):e20160147

Redsell SA, Weng SF, Swift JA, Nathan D, Glazebrook C. Validation, optimal threshold determination and clinical utility of the Infant Risk of Overweight Checklist (IROC) for early prevention of child obesity Childhood Obesity, 2016, 12 (3) 202-209. doi:10.1089/chi.2015.0246

Redsell SA, Edmonds BA, Swift JA, Siriwardena AN, Weng SF, Nathan D, Glazebrook C. Systematic review of Randomised Controlled Trials of interventions that aim to reduce the risk, either directly or indirectly, of overweight and obesity in infancy and early childhood Maternal and Child Nutrition, 2015, April DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12184

Weng, S.F., Redsell, S.A., Swift, J.A., Yang, M., Glazebrook, C. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the risk factors for childhood overweight that can be identified during infancy. Archives of Diseases in Childhood  2012, 97(12): 1019–1026.

Manning, J., Redsell, S.A., Hemingway, P. Long-term psychosocial impact reported by childhood critical illness survivors: A systematic review. Nursing in Critical Care 2014, May 19(3): 145-156.

Weng, S.F., Redsell, S.A., Nathan, D., Swift, J.A., Yang, M., Glazebrook, C. Development of an algorithm to estimate overweight risk in childhood from predictors during infancy. Pediatrics, Published on-line 15 July 2013, e414-e421 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-3858).

Redsell, S.A., Swift, J.A., Nathan, D., Siriwardena, A.N., Atkinson, P., Glazebrook, C. UK health visitors’ role in identifying and intervening with infants at risk of developing childhood obesity. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2013, 9, (3):396-408.

Redsell, S.A., Atkinson, P., Nathan, D., Siriwardena, A.N., Swift, J.A., Glazebrook, C. Preventing childhood obesity during infancy in UK primary care: a mixed-methods study of HCPs’ knowledge, beliefs and practice. BMC Family Practice, 2011, 12:54

Redsell, S.A., Atkinson, P., Nathan, D., Siriwardena, A.N., Swift, J., Glazebrook, C. Parent’s beliefs about appropriate size, growth and feeding during infancy: implications for the prevention of childhood obesity. BMC Public Health, 2010, 10:711

Redsell, S.A., Bedford, H., Siriwardena, A.N., Collier, J., Atkinson, P. Health visitors’ perception of their role in the universal childhood immunisation programme and their communication strategies with parents. Primary Care: Research and Development, 2010, 11, 1, 51-60.

Recent presentations and conferences

Redsell SA, Rose J, Glazebrook C, Ablewhite J, Swift J, Siriwardena ANS, Nathan D, Weng S, Wharrad H, Atkinson P, Watson V, McMaster F. Ong K, Lakshman R, Redsell SA. Proactive Assessment of Obesity Risk during Infancy (ProAsk): Can UK Health Visitors deliver a targeted intervention prevention programme? Poster presentation at the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) conference, Nottingham, UK, 19th-20th September 2016.

Redsell SA, Rose J, Ablewhite J, Swift J, Siriwardena ANS, Nathan D, Weng S, Wharrad H, Atkinson P, Watson V, McMaster F, Ong K, Lakshman R, Glazebrook C. Proactive Assessment of Obesity Risk during Infancy (ProAsk): Enabling health visitors to communicate future risk of childhood overweight to parents through digital technology. Oral presentation at the 4th International Global Network of Public Health Nursing Conference, Bilund, Denmark, 19th-20th September 2016.

Condon L, Jackson C on behalf of the UNITING project team. UnderstaNding uptake of Immunisations in TravellIng aNd Gypsy communities (UNITING). Oral presentation at the SAPC Annual Conference, Dublin, July, 2016

Bedford H, Jackson C on behalf of the UNITING project team (Bedford H, Beach H, Cheater F, Condon L, Crocker A, Dyson L, Emslie C, Kerr S, Kemsley P, Ireland L, Lewis H, Mytton J, Redsell S, Richardson Z, Shepherd C, Smith L, Jackson C). Understanding Uptake of Immunisations in Travelling and Gypsy Communities. Poster presentation at the The Royal College of Paediatric & Child Health (RCPCH) Annual Conference, Liverpool, April, 2016, Abstract published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2016, April, 101 (Suppl 1):1-384

Manning JM, Hemingway P, Redsell SA. Long-term psychosocial well-being following acute life threatening critical illness: Exploring childrens’ narratives of survival. Oral presentation at the World Congress for Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care (WCPICCS 2014), 7th May 2014, Istanbul, Turkey. Top Abstract Award. Abstract published in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, 15. p.31.

Media experience

  • Redsell SA, Glazebrook C (on behalf of ProAsk team) cited in a number of local (Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire) and national media publications following a press release to launch the ProAsk feasibility study, May 2015 (press report available on request).