Young woman looking in the fridge for foodThe leading causes of death in the developed world are chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, conditions which are all strongly related to diet and physical activity behaviour.

Despite a high level of public awareness that it is important to eat healthily and to be active, many people fail to achieve their diet and activity goals.

Our research focuses on understanding the individual and environmental determinants and consequences of different patterns of diet and activity behaviours, with a view to developing interventions to improve diet quality and physical activity participation.


NurseLife is a Scottish Government funded project investigating when, where and why nurses are most likely to eat particular foods, spend time active or inactive, and experience high levels of demand, stress and fatigue.

Calorie Spectrum

Calorie Spectrums - A Royal Society of Edinburgh funded project looking at whether cognitively informed point of purchase prompts (PPPs) can be used in hospital shops and cafes to support staff, patients and visitors to make healthier choices.

Current projects in this area include:


SNAPSHOT uses real time ambulatory measurement technology to accurately capture when, where and why people snack and spend time inactive. This information will be used to optimally target interventions and to identify health ‘blackspots’. Visit SNAPSHOT website »

Sample Publications:

  • Daly, M., McMinn, D. & Allan, JL. (2015). ‘A bidirectional relationship between physical activity and executive function in older adults’. Frontiers in Cognitive Neuroscience, vol 13, no.8, p. 1044.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.01044/full
  • Allan, J.L., Johnston, M. & Campbell, N.C (2014). ‘Snack purchasing is healthier when the cognitive demands of choice are reduced: A randomised controlled trial’. Health Psychology. EPub ahead of print.
  • Morrison, L., Hargood, C., Lin, S,X., Dennison, L., Joseph, J., Hughes, S., Michaelides, D., Johnston, D., Johnston, M., Michie, S., Little, P., Smith, P., Weal, M. & Yardley, L.(2014). ‘Understanding usage of a hybrid website and smartphone application for weight management: A mixed-methods study’. Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol 16, no. 10, e201.
    [Online] DOI: 10.2196/jmir.3579
  • Bestwick, CS., Douglas, FCG., Allan, JL., MacDiarmid, JI., Ludbrook, A. & Carlisle, S. (2013). 'A perspective on the strategic approach to the complexity and challenges of behaviour change in relation to dietary health'. Nutrition Bulletin, vol 38, no. 1, pp. 50-56.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1111/nbu.12007
  • Allan, K. & Allan, JL. (2013). 'An obesogenic bias in women's spatial memory for high calorie snack food'. Appetite, vol 67, pp. 99-104.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.03.011
  • de Bruin, M., Sheeran, P., Kok, G., Hiemstra, A., Prins, JM., Hospers, HJ. & van Breukelen, GJP. (2012). ‘Self-regulatory processes mediate the intention-behavior relation for adherence and exercise behaviors’. Health Psychology, vol 31, no. 6, pp. 695-703.
    [Online] DOI:10.1037/a0027425
  • Dombrowski, SU., Sniehotta, FF., Avenell, A., Johnston, M., MacLennan, G. & Araujo-Soares V. (2012) ‘Identifying active ingredients in complex behavioural interventions for obese adults with obesity-related co-morbidities or additional risk factors for co-morbidities: a systematic review’. Health Psychology Review, vol 6, no. 1, pp. 7-32.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2010.513298
  • Allan, JL., Johnston, M. & Campbell, NC. (2011). 'Missed by an inch or a mile?: Predicting size of intention-behaviour gap from measures of executive control'. Psychology & Health, vol 26, no. 6, pp. 635-650.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1080/08870441003681307