Professor Janice L. Thompson PhD, FACSM

Professor Janice L. Thompson

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Professor of Public Health Nutrition and Exercise

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

60 second video iconProfessor Janice L. Thompson is a leading expert in the field of public health nutrition and exercise, and their role in preventing and treating risks for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes across the lifespan.


PhD in Exercise Science (Exercise Physiology and Nutrition), Arizona State University, Tempe, 1991.

MSc in Physical Education (Exercise Physiology), California State University, Sacramento, 1987.

BSc in Physical Education (Exercise Physiology), California State University, Sacramento, 1985.

Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM)

Fellow of the European College of Sport Science (FECSS)


Professor Thompson completed her PhD in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition from Arizona State University in 1991. After completing post-doctoral fellowship training at Stanford University in 1995, she worked at University of North Carolina, Charlotte and at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham in 2012, she was Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the University of Bristol. She is a Fellow and Past Vice President of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). She is also a member of the Executive Board of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS).

Professor Thompson was awarded the 2015 ACSM Citation Award. This award is granted to an individual or group who has made significant and important contributions to sports medicine and/or the exercise sciences. These contributions may include, but are not limited to, research and scholarship; clinical care; and/or administrative or educational services in sports medicine or exercise science.


Professor Thompson is co-lead for the first-year undergraduate module, Becoming a Researcher. She also contributes lectures to various BSc and MSc courses within the School and across the University. She is the author of 4 nutrition textbooks published in English and Spanish.

Postgraduate supervision

Janice has supervised 8 doctoral researchers and more than 60 MSc students to completion. She currently supervises 6 doctoral students:

  • Brandon Shad (Co-supervisor (30%) with Dr Gareth Wallis) – Expected date of completion September 2019 (currently awaiting viva). Funded by College of Life and Environmental Sciences Exercise as Medicine Studentship. “Influence of Sedentary Time on Skeletal Muscle Metabolism, Function, and Metabolic Health.”
  • Sekesai Dachi (Primary Advisor (80%) with Professor Peymane Adab, secondary supervisor) – expected date of completion September 2021. Funded by a combination of self-funding and support from the Royal College of Nursing. “Determinants of the Uptake of Bariatric Surgery by Ethnic Minority Patients.”
  • Anastasia Shvedko (Secondary supervisor (25%), with Anna Phillips (60%) and Carolyn Greig (15%)) – expected date of completion September 2019 (currently awaiting viva). Funded by a PhD studentship from the Russian government. “Impact of physical activity on reducing social isolation and loneliness in older adults.”
  • Benjamin Parry (Secondary supervisor (40%), with Jennifer Cumming (60%) – expected date of completion July 2020. Funded by a matched funded PhD studentship from Public Health England, St Basils Charity, and College of Life and Environmental Sciences. “Examination of influence of changes in physical activity on tackling youth homelessness using Mental Skills Training in homeless young people.”
  • Evans Asamane (Primary Advisor (90%)) – expected date of completion November 2019 (currently awaiting viva). “Dietary intake and eating behaviours in community-dwelling ethnically diverse older adults: cultural tailoring of assessment and identification of key social influences.” Funded by EU H2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (PANINI).
  • Grace Tidmarsh (co-supervisor (30%) with Jennifer Cumming (70%) – expected date of completion September 2021. “Physical activity and health in homeless young people.” Funded by an ESRC DTP Collaborative Studentship (1+3), in partnership with St Basils Charity.


Research interests

Diabetes prevention and management in diverse communities; public health nutrition and physical activity; mixed methods research; dietary assessment techniques; community-based evaluations and interventions; ageing and ethnic minority health. 

 Current projects

  • Principal Investigator. “Diabetes Prevention in Diverse Communities: informing the NHS National Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP).” University of Birmingham Impact Fund. 01/09/18 – 31/07/19. £10,207.80. (Co-I: Professor Colin Greaves).
  • Co-investigator, “Physical Activity and Nutrition Influences In ageing (PANINI).” European Commission Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Networks (ITN), 01/01/16 – 31/12/19.  €2,893,198 over 48 months. (PI: Dr Anna Phillips, University of Birmingham).
  • Co-investigator, “The influence of family and friends on change in physical activity, sedentary behaviour and screen-viewing from Years 1 to 6 in the B-PROACT1V cohort: Finding ways to change behaviour.” British Heart Foundation, BHF SP/14/4/31123. 01/03/2015 – 28/02/2020. £538,000 over 5 years. (PI: Prof Russ Jago, University of Bristol).
  • Principal Investigator (Birmingham Site), “A randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation of a community-based physical activity intervention to prevent mobility-related disability for retired older people. The REACT (Retirement in ACTion) study.” NIHR Public Health Research, 13/164/51. 01/09/2015 – 28/02/2020. £1,641,796 over 54 months. (Chief Investigator: Dr Afroditi Stathi, University of Bath). Amount to Birmingham, £311,789.
  • Co-Investigator. “BY-BAND-SLEEVE: Gastric BYpass, adjustable gastric BANDing, or gastric SLEEVE surgery to treat morbid obesity: a multi-centre randomised controlled trial.” National Institute for Health Research/Health Technology Assessment, 09/127/53. 01/09/2011 – 31/12/2021. £2,874,696. (PI: J Blazeby, University of Bristol).

Other activities

Professor Thompson currently serves on the Executive Board of the European College of Sport Science and on the Scientific Committee of the British Nutrition Foundation. She is a member of the Diabetes UK Community Education Insight Advisory Group, and is Section Editor for the journal BMC Public Health.

The impact of Professor Thompson's research has been highlighted in the BBC's recent show 'Trust Me Im A Doctor'. Viewer statistics indicate 3.2 million viewers of the original programme, with an additional 200,000 views via BBC iPlayer.

Her research has also featured in a Birmingham brief article highlighting Veganism research at the University. 


Select recent publications

  1. Emm-Collison, LG, S Lewis, T Reid, J Matthews, SJ Sebire, JL Thompson, R Salway, and R Jago. Striking a balance: physical activity, screen-viewing and homework during the transition to secondary school. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019, 16:3174, doi:103390/ijerph16173174.
  2. Salway R, Emm-Collison L, Sebire SJ, Thompson JL, Lawlor DA, and Jago, R. The association of school-related active travel and active after-school clubs with childrens’ physical activity: a cross-sectional study in 11-year-old UK children. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2019, 16:72,
  3. Asamane, E. A., C.A. Greig, J.A. Aunger, and J.L. Thompson. Perceptions and factors influencing eating behaviours and physical function in community-dwelling ethnically diverse older adults: a longitudinal qualitative study. Nutrients, 2019, 11(6), pii:E1224. Doi: 10.3390/nu11061224.
  4. Pallan M, T Griffin, KL Hurley, E Lancashire, J Blissett, E Frew, L Griffith, K Hemming, K Jolly, E McGee, Thompson JL, Jackson L, Gill P, Parry J, and Adab P. Cultural adaptation of an existing children's weight management programme: the CHANGE intervention and feasibility RCT. Health Technology Assessment, 2019, 23(33).
  5. Doble B., R. Welbourn, N. Carter, J Byrne, C.A. Rogers, J.M. Blazeby, S. Wordsworth on behalf of the By-Band-Sleeve Trial Management Group. Multi-centre, micro-costing of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding procedures for the treatment of severe, complex obesity. Obesity Surgery, 2019, 29(2), 474-484.
  6. Pallan, M.J., Griffin, T.L., Hurley, K.L., Lancashire, E.R., Blissett, J., Frew, E., Gill, P., Griffith, L., Jolly, K., McGee, E., Parry, J.M., Thompson JL, and Adab, P.  Cultural adaptation of a children’s weight management programme: Child weigHt mANaGement for Ethnically diverse communities (CHANGE) study. BMC Public Health (in press).
  7. Emm-Collison, L.G., Lewis, S., Reid, T., Matthews, J., Sebire, S.J., Thompson, J.L., and Jago, R. Physical activity during the school holidays: parent perceptions and practical considerations. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019, 16, 1697. Doi:10.3390/ijerph16101697.
  8. Emm-Collison L, SJ Sebire, JL Thompson, R Salway, and R Jago. Longitudinal associations between parents’ motivations to exercise and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Psychology of Sport and Exercise (in press).
  9. Shad BJ, Thompson JL, Holwerda AM, Stocks B, Elhassan YS, Philp A, van Loon LJC, and Wallis GA. One week of step reduction lowers myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in young men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (in press). 
  10. Stathi A, Withall J, Fox K, Thompson J, Davis MG, Gray S, Parkhurst G, and Lloyd, L. Feasibility trial evaluation of a peer volunteering active ageing intervention: ACE (Active, Connected, Engaged). The Gerontologist, 2019, gnz003,

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