Dr Helen Parretti MA (Oxon), PhD, MRSC, CChem, MBBS, MSc, MRCGP

Dr Helen Parretti

Institute of Applied Health Research
Honorary NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer
Clinical Senior Lecturer at University of East Anglia

Contact details

The Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Helen is an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer and GP working in the child, maternity and lifestyle research group. Her work is focussed on weight management and obesity. She primarily works on clinical trials investigating new weight management interventions.  

She has also published a systematic review on the clinical effectiveness of very low energy diets. She led the development of a set of RCGP endorsed guidelines for primary care health professionals on the management of patients following bariatric surgery and went on to be a GP member for an expert group developing guidelines for the long term follow up of this group of patients. She is a personal tutor for MBChB students and is the RCGP representative to the RCP Joint Specialty Committee for Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus.


  • MSc in Clinical Primary and Community Care(distinction), University of Birmingham, 2015
  • Member Royal College of General Practitioners, 2015
  • MBBS, St George’s, University of London, 2006
  • PhD in solid state chemistry, University of Birmingham, 1998
  • Member of Royal Society of Chemistry and Chartered Chemist 1997
  • MA (Oxon) in chemistry, University of Oxford, 1995


Helen started at the University of Oxford studying chemistry, gaining a 2:1 in 1995. She continued working in chemistry, completing a PhD in solid state chemistry in 1998 at the University of Birmingham and then going to become a postdoctoral research fellow (University of Birmingham and then Imperial College, London). In 2002 she decided to change careers and retrain as a doctor and completed a graduate entry medical degree at St George’s, University of London in 2006. 

After foundation training she chose to train as a GP and returned to research when she completed her GP training as an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) in 2013. During her ACF she was awarded a RCGP Midlands Faculty AiT excellence award and completed a MSc in Clinical and Primary Community Care with distinction. She was appointed as a NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham on completing her GP training in 2015. She works two days a week as an honorary salaried GP in a local surgery and spends the rest of the week conducting research into weight management within the child, maternity and lifestyle research group in the Institute of Applied Health Research.


Postgraduate supervision

  • Helen is currently co-supervisor for a PhD student working on postnatal weight management.
  • She was a co-supervisor for a MPH student research project in 2014.


Helen has recently led a clinical trial investigating drinking water before main meals as a weight loss intervention, funded by a RCGP Scientific Foundation Board Grant and a European Hydration Institute student grant. She has also led a systematic review on the clinical effectiveness of very low energy diets. 

She has been a member of multidisciplinary expert groups developing guidance for the management of patients following bariatric surgery. The guidance for the management of these patients, developed specifically for primary care was endorsed by the RCGP. Currently, she is co-principal investigator for a clinical trial investigating a postnatal weight management intervention and is principal investigator for a CLAHRC WM supported trial involving renal patients.

Helen is a member of the Child, Maternity and Lifestyle research group within Institute of Applied Health Research.

Other activities

  • Member of a NHS England Severe and Complex Obesity CRG subgroup developing guidance for the follow up of  patients undergoing bariatric surgery, 2015-2016.
  • Personal tutor for University of Birmingham MBChB students since September 2015.
  • SCOPE (specialist certification of obesity professional education) certified, 2015.
  • RCGP representative to the RCP Joint Specialty Committee for Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus since 2014.
  • GPs with an interest in nutrition group member since 2013.


Recent publications


Krouwel, M, Greenfield, SM, Chalkley, A, Sanders, JP, Parretti, HM, Gokal, K, Jolly, K, Skrybant, M, Biddle, SJH, Greaves, C, Maddison, R, Mutrie, N, Ives, N, Esliger, DW, Sherar, L, Edwardson, CL, Yates, T, Frew, E, Tearne, S, Daley, AJ & Kwaghe, AV (ed.) 2023, 'Promoting participation in physical activity through Snacktivity: A qualitative mixed methods study', PLOS One, vol. 18, no. 9, e0291040. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0291040

Daley, AJ, Griffin, RA, Moakes, CA, Sanders, JP, Skrybant, M, Ives, N, Maylor, B, Greenfield, SM, Gokal, K, Parretti, HM, Biddle, SJH, Greaves, C, Maddison, R, Mutrie, N, Esliger, DW, Sherar, L, Edwardson, CL, Yates, T, Frew, E, Tearne, S & Jolly, K 2023, 'Snacktivity™ to promote physical activity and reduce future risk of disease in the population: protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial and nested qualitative study', Pilot and Feasibility Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 45. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-023-01272-8

Pallan, M, Mason, F, Parretti, H, Adab, P, Abbott, S & Jolly, K 2023, 'Supporting healthcare professionals to address child weight with parents: a qualitative study', British Journal of General Practice . https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2023.0238

Luli, M, Yeo, G, Farrell , E, Ogden, J, Parretti, H, Frew, E, Bevan , S, Blakemore, A, Brown, A, Logue, J, Menon, V, Isack, N, Lean , M, Roberts , A, McEwan , C, Gately , P, Roberts, K, Williams, S, Williams, G, Astbury, N, Maria, B, Clare, K, Combet, E, Dimitriadis, G, Finlayson, G, Heslehurst, N, Le Brocq, S, McGinley, P, Mueller, J, O'Kane, M, Richards, R, Batterham, RL & Miras, A 2023, 'The implications of defining obesity as a disease: a report from the Association for the Study of Obesity 2021 annual conference', EClinicalMedicine, vol. 58, 101962. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2023.101962

Gokal, K, Amos-Hirst, R, Moakes, C, Sanders, JP, Esliger, DW, Sherar, LB, Ives, N, Biddle, SJH, Edwardson, C, Frew, E, Yates, T, Greaves, C, Rowland, N, Greenfield, S, Jolly, K, Skrybant, M, Maddison, R, Mutrie, N, Parretti, H & Daley, A 2022, 'Views of the public about Snacktivity™: A small changes approach to promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour', BMC Public Health, vol. 22, no. 618, 618. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13050-x

Abbott, S, Parretti, H & Greenfield, S 2021, 'Experiences and perceptions of dietitians for obesity management: a general practice qualitative study', Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 494-503. https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12855

Daley, AJ, Jolly, K, Ives, N, Jebb, SA, Tearne, S, Greenfield, SM, Yardley, L, Little, P, Tyldesley-Marshall, N, Bensoussane, H, Pritchett, RV, Frew, E & Parretti, HM 2021, 'Practice nurse-supported weight self-management delivered within the national child immunisation programme for postnatal women: a feasibility cluster RCT', Health Technology Assessment, vol. 25, no. 49. https://doi.org/10.3310/hta25490

Tyldesley-Marshall, N, Greenfield, S, Parretti, H, Gokal, K, Greaves, C, Jolly, K, Maddison, R, Daley, A & Snacktivity Study Team 2021, 'Snacktivity™ to promote physical activity: a qualitative study', International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-021-10040-y

Tyldesley-Marshall, N, Greenfield, S, Parretti, H, Jolly, K, Jebb, S & Daley, A 2021, 'The experiences of postnatal women and healthcare professionals of a brief weight management intervention embedded within the national child immunisation programme', BMC pregnancy and childbirth, vol. 21, no. 1, 462. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-021-03905-3

Snacktivity Study Team 2021, '‘Snacktivity™’ to increase physical activity: time to try something different?', Preventive Medicine, vol. 153, 106851. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106851

Hazlehurst, J, Logue, J, Parretti, H, Abbott, S, Brown, A, Pournaras, D & Tahrani, A 2020, 'Developing integrated clinical pathways for the management of clinically severe adult obesity: A critique of NHS England policy', Current Obesity Reports, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 530–543. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-020-00416-8

Daley, A, Jolly, K, Bensoussane, H, Jebb, SA, Tearne, S, Greenfield, S, Yardley, L, Little, P, Tyldesley-Marshall, N, Pritchett, R, Frew, E & Parretti, H 2020, 'Feasibility and acceptability of a brief routine weight management intervention for postnatal women embedded within the national child immunisation programme in primary care: randomised controlled cluster feasibility trial', Trials, vol. 21, 757. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04673-9


Sharma, M, Nayar, R, Graham, Y, Parretti, HM, Abbott, S, Tahrani, A, Miras, AD, Madhok, B, Singhal, R & Mahawar, K 2022, 'Risk of harm from use of sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors in patients pre or post bariatric surgery', Obesity surgery, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 2469-2470. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11695-022-06044-6

Review article

Grey, E, Griffin, T, Jolly, K, Pallan, M, Parretti, H, Retzer, A & Gillison, F 2023, 'Extended brief interventions for weight management and obesity prevention in children: a rapid evidence review', Obesity Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.13633

Lambert, AM, Parretti, HM, Pearce, E, Price, MJ, Riley, M, Ryan, R, Tyldesley-marshall, N, Avşar, TS, Matthewman, G, Lee, A, Ahmed, K, Odland, ML, Correll, CU, Solmi, M & Marshall, T 2022, 'Temporal trends in associations between severe mental illness and risk of cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis', PLoS Medicine, vol. 19, no. 4, e1003960. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003960

View all publications in research portal