Alex Rhodes

About me: I have had a long career as a commercial qualitative researcher, working on new product development and brand strategy development for leading manufacturers, service companies and retailers. Eight years ago I started doing pro bono research for the child health charity Best Beginnings, including helping them to develop an app to support women through pregnancy and the first years of parenthood. This app, Baby Buddy, is endorsed by many of the Royal Colleges and has already been embedded into 22 NHS care pathways. Working with Best Beginnings reignited my interest in health psychology (my undergraduate degree was Maths and Psychology) and led to an MSc in Health Psychology at UCL.

My research and the difference it makes: The aim of my PhD is to develop a behaviour change intervention for the Baby Buddy app that will encourage and support women to eat healthily and exercise during pregnancy, thereby reducing their risk of excessive gestational weight gain.

Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with adverse health outcomes during pregnancy, labour and in later life. Of particular concern is its association with long-term weight issues for both mother and baby. Diet and exercise interventions can succeed in reducing the incidence of excessive gestational weight gain. However face-to-face interventions are expensive to deliver and have limited accessibility. An app-based intervention will offer an inexpensive means to reach vulnerable women and help to educate, motivate and support them to achieve healthy gestational weight gain.

Supervisors: Clare Llewellyn and Dr Helen Croker

Pathway: Life Course and Social Epidemiology

Location: UCL Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health