Professor Peymané Adab MD, MPH, MB ChB, FFPH, FHKCCM

Professor Peymané Adab

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor of Chronic Disease Epidemiology & Public Health

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 3777
+44 (0)121 414 7878
Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT

Peymané has been Professor of Public Health at the University of Birmingham since 2013. She has developed a national and international portfolio of work in chronic disease epidemiology and behavioural medicine, including a programme of work on obesity prevention, focusing on children and multiethnic populations.  Her research interests also focus on screening and the epidemiology of COPD. She holds major grants in these areas from the National Institute of Health Research and the Medical Research Council.

Peymané also takes an active role in teaching, having previously been director of the Graduate Entry Course in Medicine, and deputy director of the Birmingham MPH course.


  • Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health (2007)
  • MD, University of Birmingham (2002)
  • Fellowship of the Hong Kong College of Community Medicine (1999)
  • MPH, University of Birmingham (1996)
  • MB ChB, University of Liverpool (1990)


Peymané qualified from Liverpool Medical School in 1990, and after a few years working in clinical medical specialties, commenced her training in Public Health. Following obtaining her MPH in Birmingham, she obtained a post as lecturer in Public Health at the University of Hong Kong, where she worked for 3 years. During that time she developed an interest in academic public health, working on tobacco control and cancer screening.

Peymané’s current research encompasses chronic disease epidemiology, including behavioural epidemiology (mainly obesity prevention, but also tobacco control and screening) and respiratory epidemiology (mainly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – COPD).

She currently leads a cluster randomised controlled trial, funded by the National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment in the UK (through the Department of Health), to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a childhood obesity prevention intervention, which is being tested across 54 schools in the West Midlands. She is overseeing a similar trial in Guangzhou, China, and working with the Guangzhou CDC to look at the epidemiology and risk factors for childhood obesity in China. She has contributed to the evaluation of weight management programmes in adults in primary care, and is also contributing to the development and evaluation of a culturally adapted programme of weight management for children of South Asian ethnicity in Birmingham.

In addition, Peymane is co-lead for an NIHR funded programme on COPD. This includes studies to find the best approaches to identifying people with undiagnosed COPD in the community at an earlier stage and to explore the benefits and potential harms of early identification to inform policy and practice. Through this programme, she has also led the setting up of the BLISS COPD cohort; a primary care cohort of patients with COPD. This ongoing study will contribute to a better understanding of risk factors and natural history of this important lung disease.

The Birmingham Lung Improvement StudieS (BLISS) programme is a series of connected research studies about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) funded by a five-year programme grant from the National Institute for Health Research. The overall aim of the programme is to evaluate new ways of better identifying and managing patients with COPD in the community.


Postgraduate supervision

Peymané has supervised 10 doctoral students (8 as lead supervisor) to completion.  She is currently supervising 1 MRes, 6 PhD students working on topics related to obesity prevention, or COPD.

Please note: for the time being, Peymané has no capacity to take on any new PhD students.

Summary of doctoral supervision:

Student initials

PhD topic

Source of funding

Year PhD awarded/ expected

Other information

YP (Primary supervisor)

Epidemiology of COPD based on Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study


Awarded 2008

Lecturer in Beijing CDC

AAM (Primary supervisor)

Childhood obesity prevention in Qatar


Awarded 2012

Director MCH Services, Qatar

HL (Primary supervisor)

Prognosis of COPD – based on Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study

School studentship

Awarded 2008

Senior lecturer, University of Oxford

MP (Primary supervisor)

Developing a childhood obesity prevention intervention, focusing on South Asians in the UK

WM Deanery /SpR  (PT)

Awarded 2010

Senior Lecturer UoB

BA (Primary supervisor)

Childhood obesity prevention in Iran


Awarded 2010

Research Associate, Canada

SBL (Primary supervisor)

Development of an intervention to prevent childhood obesity in China


Awarded 2013

Postdoctoral fellow, UoB

NH (co-supervisor: 40%)

Musculoskeletal changes in COPD

Self (PT)

Awarded 2014

Lecturer in PT, UoB

GK (Primary supervisor)

Ethnic variations in body fat measures


Awarded 2015

Post-doc, Imperial College

SH (Primary supervisor)

Improving COPD case-finding in primary care


Awarded 2015


KK (co-supervisor: 30%)

Occupational productivity and COPD


Awarded 2015

Post-doc Research Fellow

JC (Primary supervisor)

Role of schools in childhood obesity prevention

Self (staff)

Awarded 2015

Post-doc fellow

KH (Primary supervisor)

Role of dietary factors in childhood obesity

Self (staff)

Exp 2016


BWL (Primary)

Outcomes of severe obesity and bariatric surgery


Awarded 2015

SpR Diabetes


Childhood Obesity Prevention Research

  • Our childhood obesity prevention research was one of the first to use the MRC Framework to develop a complex intervention, taking account of the needs of minority ethnic groups in the UK. In the BEACHeS study Peymané led development of an intervention and tested its feasibility (among 600 children from 8 primary schools). Based on promising findings, we obtained funding from NIHR for a definitive 5-year evaluation trial, which is just completing.
  • The trial (WAVES study) is one of the largest childhood obesity prevention studies undertaken to date, set in a diverse socioeconomic and multi-ethnic population and addressing the main limitations identified in previous research. This includes a sample size large enough to detect clinically significant differences in adiposity, inclusion of a range of measures of adiposity and psychosocial effects, use of an objective measure of physical activity, inclusion of cost effectiveness evaluation, a comprehensive process evaluation and assessment of longer term effects (up to 27 months post intervention completion).
  • The trial analysis plan includes consideration of sub-group effects, and analysis of intervention effects on health related quality of life and body image perception, to monitor potential harm.
  • In addition similar studies are ongoing in Qatar, Iran and China, through funded PhD studentships.
  • Co-investigator for CHANGE (child weight management for ethnically diverse communities); a study to develop a culturally adapted child weight management programme and test its feasibility and acceptability (increasing uptake and completion in ethnic minority groups).  I support and advise the PI, who is leading a study for the first time, on all aspects.
  • Co-investigator for “Healthy Dads Healthy Kids, UK” – a study of cultural adaptation and feasibility testing of an intervention aimed at weight loss in overweight men. The intervention targets fathers and their primary school aged children.

Other Translational Research


  • Peymané’s work in this area is through two major research projects. 1) The Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study, on which she is an investigator and 2) NIHR funded programme grant on COPD, where she is co-principal investigator.
  • Through these projects, we have researched the epidemiology of COPD, examining aetiological factors (particularly those that are modifiable), natural history and prognosis in COPD. We are also interested in improving the definition of COPD and our understanding of what spirometric or other features of the disease determine long term outcomes.
  • Our COPD research programme includes a trial of case-finding for early disease, with economic modelling to examine the cost-effectiveness of different approaches to future implementation. Follow up of patients who were identified by case-finding will provide data on patient benefit and outcomes. Peymane has supervised further work to undertake systematic reviews to examine the effectiveness of different case-finding strategies for COPD on disease yield, and qualitative studies to explore the views of patients and health practitioners on COPD screening.
  • Peymane is also supervising research to examine the impact of COPD on employment and occupational performance (absenteeism and presenteeism) and evaluating the effectiveness of an occupational health intervention on those outcomes.

Other research areas of interest include:


  • Peymane has been involved in the evaluation of several health service led initiatives. These have included the evaluation of a new service for diabetic retinopathy screening in Shropshire, the evaluation of Birmingham Own Health (PCT initiative in collaboration with NHS Direct and Pfeizer Health Solutions to deliver a telephone self management service to those with chronic disease in the community), evaluation of Lighten Up (PCT led weight management service for adults with obesity), evaluation of Be Active (initiative developed by collaboration between Birmingham PCTs and Birmingham City Council to enable free access to leisure facilities in Birmingham), and analysis of the National Child Measurement Programme data in Birmingham.


  • The focus of Peymane’s doctoral research was public health aspects of cervical cancer screening. The main finding, that ad-hoc screening was significantly less effective and efficient compared to an organised call-recall system, contributed to the introduction of an organised cervical cancer screening programme in Hong Kong. She has also undertaken research on the importance of informed consent, and communicating the benefits and harms of screening to those invited to a public health screening programme.
  • The COPD programme of work builds on Peymane’s experience in this area.


  • Peymané’s early research included studies to highlight the effects of active and passive smoking on health and prevalence of chronic disease. 







Other activities


  • Member of the European Respiratory Society College of Experts and Standing Evaluation Committee for Fellowships (2013 to present)
  • Scientific abstract reviewing committee for the European Respiratory Society (2013 to present)
  • Peer review of grant applications for international funding bodies, including Hong Kong Heath Services Research Fund, Portugal Health Science Research Board, Qatar National Research Fund, Health Research Board, Ireland


  • Trustee of the Association for the Study of Obesity (charitable organisation) (2014 to present)
  • Member of NIHR Public Health Research Funding Board (2014 to present)
  • Member of NIHR Research for Patient Benefit, W Midlands (2009-2013)
  • Topic expert committee member for the NICE Public Health Advisory Committee “Maintaining a healthy weight and preventing excess weight gain among children and adults” (2014-15)
  • Member, NICE Programme Development group on “Lifestyle weight management services for overweight and obese children and young people” (2012-13)
  • Chair of Data Monitoring Committee for NIHR funded trial of childhood weight management (Families for Health Trial, Warwick University)
  • Chair of Fellowship Steering Committee for an NIHR funded Career Development Fellowship, evaluating a community based programme aimed at preventing obesity in children (Henry, Leeds University)


  • Lead for “Chronic Disease Management” Research Team in the Institute of Applied Health Research - oversee the work undertaken by a team of 20 researchers (from research fellow to Professor) and over 30 other staff, including overseeing plans for funding applications, publications and personal development.


Cohort profile: The Birmingham COPD Cohort Study.  Adab P, Fitzmaurice D, Dickens A, Ayres J, Buni H, K.K. Cheng, Cooper B.G.,. Daley A, Enocson A, Greenfield S, Jolly K, Jowett S, Kalirai K, Marsh J, Miller M, Riley R, Siebert S, Stockley R, Turner A, Jordan R. IJE 2016

Parent and child perceptions of school-based obesity prevention in England: a qualitative study. Clarke J, Griffin TL,  Lancashire E, Adab P*, Parry JM, Pallan M. BMC Public Health, 2015; 15: 1224. doi:  10.1186/s12889-015-2567-7

Diagnostic accuracy of screening tests for COPD: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Haroon S, Jordan R, Takwoingi Y, Adab P. BMJ Open  2015;5:e008133  doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008133

Health allowance for improving the nutritional status and development of 3–5-year-old left-behind children in poor rural areas of China: study protocol for a cluster randomised trial. Lin Q, Adab P, Hemming K, Yang L, Qin H, Li M, Deng J, Shi J, Chen J. Trials 2015, 16:361  doi:10.1186/s13063-015-0897-5

Effectiveness of case finding strategies for COPD in primary care: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Haroon S, Jordan R, O'Beirne-Elliman J, Adab P. NPJ primary care respiratory medicine. 2015;25:15056. doi: 10.1038/npjpcrm.2015.56.

The role of grandparents in childhood obesity in China - evidence from a mixed methods study. Li B, Adab P, Cheng KK. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015 Jun 30;12(1):91. doi:10.1186/s12966-015-0251-z.

A cluster-randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a childhood obesity prevention programme delivered through schools, targeting 6-7 year old children: the WAVES study protocol. Adab P, Pallan MJ, Lancashire ER, Hemming K, Frew E, Griffin T, Barrett T, Bhopal R, Cade JE, Daley A, Deeks J, Duda J, Ekelund U, Gill P, McGee E, Parry J, Passmore S, Cheng KK. BMC Public Health. 2015 May 13;15:488. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1800-8.

Predicting risk of COPD in primary care: development and validation of a clinical risk score. Haroon S, Adab P, Riley RD, Marshall T, Lancashire R, Jordan RE. BMJ Open Respir Res. 2015 Mar 27;2(1):e000060. doi: 10.1136/bmjresp-2014-000060.

TargetCOPD: a pragmatic randomised controlled trial of targeted case finding for COPD versus routine practice in primary care: protocol. Jordan RE, Adab P, Jowett S, Marsh JL, Riley RD, Enocson A, Miller MR, Cooper BG, Turner AM, Ayres JG, Cheng KK, Jolly K, Stockley RA, Greenfield S, Siebert S, Daley A, Fitzmaurice DA. BMC Pulm Med. 2014 Oct 4;14:157. doi: 10.1186/1471-2466-14-157.

Process evaluation design in a cluster randomised controlled childhood obesity prevention trial: The WAVES study. TL Griffin, MJ Pallan, JL Clarke, ER Lancashire, A Lyon, JM Parry, Adab P. IJBNPA 2014, 11:112  doi:10.1186/s12966-014-0112-1

Preventing childhood obesity, phase II feasibility study focusing on South Asians: BEACHeS. Adab P, Pallan M, Cade J, Ekelund U, Barrett T, Daley A, Deeks J, Duda J, Gill P, Parry J, Bhopal R, Cheng KK. BMJ Open , vol 4, no. 4, e004579., 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004579 2014.

Are school physical activity characteristics associated with weight status in primary school children? A multilevel cross-sectional analysis of routine surveillance data. M Pallan, Adab P, A Sitch, P Aveyard. Arch. Dis. Child. 2014; 99: 135 - 141.

Development of a childhood obesity prevention programme with a focus on UK South Asian communities M Pallan, J Parry, K K Cheng, Adab P. Preventive Medicine, 2013 DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.08.025

The views of stakeholders on the role of the primary school in preventing childhood obesity: a qualitative systematic review. J Clarke, B Fletcher, E Lancashire, M Pallan, Adab P. Obesity Reviews DOI:10.1111/obr.12058

Physical activity and blood pressure in primary school children: a longitudinal study. G Knowles, M Pallan, GN Thomas, U Ekelund, KK Cheng, T Barrett, Adab P. Hypertension. 2013;61(1):70-75

Cost-effectiveness of a community based physical activity programme for adults (Be Active) in the UK: an economic analysis. EJ Frew, M Bhatti, K Win, A Sitch, A Lyon, M Pallan, Adab P. Br. J. Sports Med., Feb 2014; 48: 207 - 212.

Contextual influences on the development of obesity in children: a case study of UK South Asian communities. Pallan MJ, Parry JM, Adab P. Preventive Medicine. 2012 Mar-Apr;54(3-4):205-11