Initially trained as a population health data scientist, I previously served as an NIHR SPHR intern at the NIHR Obesity Policy Research Unit. As part of my MSc in Epidemiology at LSHTM, I am hoping to investigating the intricate relationship between obesity and mental health in underserved populations, and inform policy that addresses health inequities across the country. I also hope to continue conducting research with this focus during my doctoral studies and future career.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Award Title: Mental Health Fellowship
Start date: September 2022
End date: September 2023
Location of Research: UK (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
Project Title: Deprivation, obesity, and mental health in children and adolescents before and after the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study
Brief Summary: There has been substantial evidence indicating that mental health has dramatically worsened across the globe after the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased rates of anxiety and depression being seen in the UK and abroad. This has been particularly the case in children and adolescents, especially those living in deprived communities. However, evidence on whether associations between obesity and adverse mental health have strengthened post-COVID remains limited, and whether the deprivation gradient present in these associations has increased requires further research.
Methods: Regression modelling will be used to investigate associations between obesity and adverse mental health outcomes post-COVID, using data from all three waves of the Millennium Cohort Study’s COVID-19 surveys. The analysis will then be repeated in pre-COVID waves of the study for comparison, and to investigate differences in deprivation gradients before and after the pandemic. Adverse mental health outcomes considered include loneliness, psychological distress, mental wellbeing, and anxiety, based on responses to multiple mental health questionnaires (e.g. UCLA loneliness scale, K6, WEMWBS, GHQ-12, GAD-7), while obesity will be estimated using study participants’ weight and height measurements.
Benefits anticipated: Findings will provide an improved understanding of the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures in the UK have influenced childhood and adolescent obesity and mental health, and widened health inequalities, which would serve as important evidence for increased provision of mental health support services during future potential disease outbreaks.