Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Dr Lorraine McSweeney

Research Associate



Having previously worked as a nursery nurse for several years in local authority nursery schools I decided to change careers to follow a lifelong interest in nutrition and health. I enroled as a mature student and graduated in BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of Abertay Dundee. Having enjoyed my time as a student I decided to continue in higher education and secured a FUSE  1+3 funded PhD studentship at Newcastle University.

My PhD was a mixed methods feasibilty study to determine which behaviour change strategies to improve diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviours in preschool children aged 3-5 years would be acceptable to nursery practitioners and parents

My research interests are in obesity, behaviour change interventions and qualitative research. I have worked on several public health projects including:

  • The NAtional Trial of Tonsillectomy in Adults: a clinical and cost effectiveness study (NATTINA). A multicentre, randomised, controlled trial with feasibility study and internal pilot. NATTINA is looking to determine the cost effectiveness and efficiency of tonsillectomy versus conservative therapy (delayed surgery) in adults with recurrent acute tonsillitis over a 24 months follow-up period with an embedded qualitative study.

  • Parental perceptions of the hospital food environment – a qualitative interview study to determine whether hospital shops and outlets cater for families whose children visit or are in hospital.

  • Early Life and Adolescence Programme (ELAP) - is a research programme within Fuse which includes research on pregnancy, infancy, preschool and school years, adolescence and the transition to independence

  • GestationaL Obesity Weight-management: Implementation of National Guidelines (GLOWING) - Use of a theory-based intervention to facilitate the implementation of maternal obesity management guidelines in order to: Change midwives behaviour in clinical practice and improve obese pregnant women’s weight related behaviours (and postnatal).

I am currently working on the LITMUS project which is a pioneering European research project aiming to lead to new diagnostic tests to assess patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and identify those most at risk for developing severe inflammation and liver scarring.

Research Income

  • Dr Lorraine McSweeney, Dr Wendy Wrieden, Dr Suzanne Spence, Dr Catherine Haighton, Mrs Julie Anderson. Parental perceptions of the hospital food environment: a qualitative interview study. Fuse Pump Prime Research Funds Oct 2016- Oct 2017                                                                                                                         £4760.19 

  • Dr Suzanne Spence, Prof A Adamson, Dr W Wrieden, & Dr L McSweeney, Prof J Matthews, Dr L Panzone,  J Reilly, J MacMorran, R Rigby, D Stobbs, G Battista, M Lamb, Prof D Just. An evaluation of food choice architecture on food and drink consumption in 11-16y olds in North East England: a pilot study. Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard - Health of the Public 2040 Award March 2017                                                                                                                                                     £38,691.37