James completed a BSc and MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University and is a current PhD researcher investigating the effects of ball heading on neurocognitive function within recreational football players. Prior to this, James worked as a Research Officer at John Moores University and was responsible for overseeing the implementation and evaluation of the Healthy Weight in Early Years (HealthyWEY) toolkit in collaboration with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. The resource brings together child weight-related information into a single e-learning package with the aim of providing a universal and collaborative approach to promoting healthy weight in the early years. This project allowed James to apply his passion for using research to guide the development of evidence-based interventions that have the potential to improve public health.
With childhood obesity rates reaching epidemic levels, the absence of standardised training pathways has created inconsistencies in the pre-school weight management practices of health care professionals in England . These inconsistencies, together with the barriers to addressing pre-school child weight  have highlighted the need for appropriate training focused on increasing the skills, knowledge and confidence of frontline practitioners. To address this, Healthy Weight in Early Years (HealthyWEY) is an e-learning resource that was co-developed through a collaborative PhD between Liverpool John Moores University and Blackburn with Darwen Council . The aim of this feasibility study was to assess the preliminary effectiveness of the toolkit for upskilling early years professionals to support healthy weight-related behaviours during infancy and early childhood.
Drawing on MRC process evaluation guidance, a mixed-methods approach was used to assess the toolkit’s impact on the perceived barriers to addressing pre-school child weight and the approaches, attitudes and motivations of frontline practitioners via an online questionnaire. Focus groups were used to explore the acceptability of the e-learning among participating workforces as well as the barriers and facilitators to implementation. Analysis of the study’s quantitative data was conducted through SPSS. Focus groups took place online via Microsoft Teams and were coded using thematic analysis.
The study’s quantitative data showed significant reductions in the perceived barriers to addressing pre-school weight, significant increases in the autonomy, competence and relatedness of participants, and a significant increase in autonomous motivation for prioritising pre-school child weight management (p<.001). There was no change in participants’ approaches to managing pre-school weight from pre- to post-intervention (p>.05). Analysis of the focus group data provided support for the acceptability of the toolkit with participants acknowledging the impact of the e-learning on their weight management practices, whilst also perceiving a change in the culture of pre-school weight management. The flexibility that the e-learning provided and the opportunities for collaborative learning during drop-in sessions were identified as facilitators to implementation, while participants highlighted time, a lack of capacity and staff absences as the primary barriers to implementation.
The project’s findings provide preliminary evidence of the HealthyWEY toolkit’s effectiveness for upskilling multi-agency professionals to support healthy weight-related behaviours during infancy and early childhood.
 Bradbury, D., Porcellato, L., Timpson, H., Turner, G., Goodhew, S., Young, R., & Watson, P.M. (2019). Multiple stakeholder views of pre-school child weight management practices: a mixed-methods study. Health Education Journal, 78(7), 798-811.
 Bradbury, D., Chisholm, A., Watson, P.M., Bundy, C., Bradbury, N., & Birtwistle, S. (2018). Barriers and facilitators to health care professionals discussing child weight with parents: A meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. British Journal of Health Psychology, 23(3), 701-722.
 Bradbury, D. (2020). Promoting healthy weight in pre-school children in Blackburn with Darwen: development and feasibility assessment of a pre-school weight-related training tool for multi-agency professionals. Thesis submitted to Liverpool John Moores University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the School of Sport and Exercise Science.