Colin Greaves


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Developing or evaluating interventions to promote physical activity for health. This can be in the context of managing depression, cardiac rehabilitation, managing diabetes or other chronic illnesses, or for the prevention of disease (e.g. diabetes or cardiovascular disease).


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Colin Greaves is a Chartered Health Psychologist and Professor of Psychology Applied to Health at University of Birmingham. He specialises in developing and evaluating interventions to support health behaviour change. He has developed intervention materials and training courses for NHS service providers to support people to increase physical activity, lose weight, stop smoking and improve self-care of chronic illnesses. He contributed to NICE guidance and European guidelines on preventing type 2 diabetes. He currently holds a 5-year NIHR fellowship on promoting weight loss maintenance. Current research includes funded trials of interventions for diabetes prevention (NDPS, ComPoD), self-management of Heart Failure (REACH-HF), weight loss (SkiM, Waste the Waist), physical activity (BAcPAc, eCOACHER, REACT), smoking cessation (EARS, TARS) and depression (eMotion).


Recent /relevant publications:-

 1.      Greaves CJ, Poltawski L, Garside R, Briscoe S. A synthesis of qualitative research on weight loss maintenance. Health Psychology Review 2017;11(2):145-63.

 2.      Lambert JD, Greaves CJ, Farrand P, Haase AM, Taylor AH. Development of a web-based intervention (eMotion) based on behavioural activation to promote physical activity in people with depression. Mental Health and Physical Activity 2017;13:120-36.

 3.      Breeze PR, Thomas C, Squires H, Brennan A, Greaves CJ, Diggle PJ, et al. Cost-effectiveness of population based, community, workplace, and individual policies for diabetes prevention in the UK. Diabetic Medicine 2017; 2017;34(8):1136-44.

 4.      Lambert JD, Greaves CJ, Farrand P, Cross R, Haase AM, Taylor AH. Assessment of fidelity in individual level behaviour change interventions promoting physical activity among adults: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 2017;17:765.

 5.      Pascale M, Murray N, Bachmann M, et al. Study Protocol: The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study [NDPS]. BMC Public Health 2017;17(1):31.

 6.      van Beurden S, Greaves CJ, Smith J, Abraham C: Techniques for Modifying Impulsive Processes Associated with Unhealthy Eating: A Systematic Review. Health Psychology 2016;35(8):793-806.

 7.      Greaves CJ, Wingham J, Deighan C, Doherty P, Elliot J, Armitage W et al. Optimising self-care support for people with heart failure and their care givers: development of the Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH-HF) intervention using Intervention Mapping. BMC Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2016;2:37.

 8.      Tang JCH, Abraham C, Greaves CJ, Nikolaou V: Self-directed interventions to promote weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review 2016;10(3):358-372.

 9.      Thompson TP, Greaves CJ, Ayres R, et al. Factors associated with study attrition in a pilot randomised controlled trial to explore the role of exercise-assisted reduction to stop (EARS) smoking in disadvantaged groups. Trials 2016;17:524

 10.   Davies MJ, Gray LJ, Troughton J, et al: The Let's Prevent Diabetes cluster randomised controlled trial. Preventive Medicine 2016, 84:48-56.

 11.   Taylor RS, Hayward C, Eyre V, Austin J, Davies R, Doherty P, et al. The clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH-HF) facilitated self-care rehabilitation intervention in heart failure patients and caregivers: Rationale and protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open 2015;5:e009994.

 12.   Borek AJ, Abraham C, Smith JR, Greaves CJ, Tarrant M. A checklist to improve reporting of group-based behaviour-change interventions. BMC Public Health 2015;15:963.

 13.   Greaves CJ, Gillison FB, Stathi A, Bennett P, Reddy P, Dunbar J, Perry R, Messom D, Chandler R, Francis M, Davies M, Green C, Evans PH, Taylor G. Waste the Waist: A pilot randomised controlled trial of a primary care based intervention to support lifestyle change in people with high cardiovascular risk. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2015;12(1):1-23.

 14.   Pentecost C, Farrand P, Greaves C, Taylor R, Warren F, Hillsdon M, Green C, Welsman J, Rayson K, Evans P, Taylor A: Combining behavioural activation with physical activity promotion for adults with depression: findings of a parallel-group pilot randomised controlled trial (BAcPAc). Trials 2015;16:367.

 15.   Thompson TP, Greaves CJ, Ayres R, et al. An exploratory analysis of the smoking and physical activity outcomes from a pilot randomised controlled trial of an exercise assisted reduction to stop (EARS) smoking intervention in disadvantaged groups. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2015;18(3):289-97.

 16.   Wingham J, Frost J, Britten N, Jolly K, Greaves C, Abraham C, Dalal H: Needs of caregivers in heart failure management: A qualitative study. Chronic Illness 2015, 11(4):304-319.

 17.   Tang J, Abraham C, Stamp E, Greaves C. How can weight-loss app designers' best engage and support users? A qualitative investigation. British Journal of Health Psychology 2015;20(1):151-71.

 18.   Gillison F, Stathi A, Reddy P, Perry R, Taylor G, Bennett P, Dunbar J, Greaves C. Processes of behavior change and weight loss in a theory-based weight loss intervention program: a test of the process model for lifestyle behavior change. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2015;12(2):1-15.

 19.    Dunkley AJ, Bodicoat DH, Greaves CJ, et al. Diabetes Prevention in the Real World: Effectiveness of Pragmatic Lifestyle Interventions for the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes and of the Impact of Adherence to Guideline Recommendations: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 2014, 37:922-933.

 20.   Tang J, Abraham C, Greaves C, Yates T. Self-Directed Interventions to Promote Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of Reviews. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2014;16(2):e58.

 21.   Taylor AH, Thompson TP, Greaves CJ, Taylor RS, Green C, Warren FC et al. A pilot randomised trial to assess the methods and procedures for evaluating the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS) among disadvantaged smokers. Health Technology Assessment 2014;18(4).

22.   Denford S, Campbell JL, Frost J, Greaves CJ. Processes of Change in an Asthma Self-Care Intervention. Qualitative Health Research 2013; 23(10):1419-1429.

 23.   Schwarz PEH, Greaves CJ, Yates T, Davies M. Non-pharmacological interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nature Reviews Endocrinology 2012;8:363-73.

 24.   Greaves CJ, Sheppard K, Abraham C, et al. Systematic review of reviews of intervention components associated with increased effectiveness in dietary and physical activity interventions. BMC Public Health 2011;11:119.

25.   Paulweber B, Valensi P, Lindström J, Lalic NM, Greaves CJ, McKee M et al. A European Evidence-Based Guideline for the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. Hormone and metabolic research 2010; 42:S3-S36.

26.   Greaves CJ, Middlebrooke A, O’Loughlin L, et al. Reducing diabetes risk in primary care: Randomised controlled trial of lifestyle counsellors using motivational interviewing to achieve weight loss. British Journal of General Practice 2008:58(553);535-540.



Currently active research projects

REACT (REtirement in ACTion): Multi-centre RCT and economic evaluation of a community-based physical activity intervention to prevent mobility-related disability in retired older people. Funding: £1,641,790 NIHR Public Health Research.


ComPoD (Community-based Prevention of Diabetes): Multi-centre waiting list controlled RCT to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a third sector led, community-based diabetes prevention programme. Funding: £249,370 NIHR PHPES.


SkiM (Skills for weight loss and Maintenance): Personal fellowship. Programme of research on weight loss maintenance. Funding: £ 682,370 NIHR.


eMotion: Studentship to develop an intervention for simultaneous physical activity promotion and depression treatment. £57,000 Economic and Social Research Council.


Impulse Pal: Studentship to develop a digital health application to help overweight people to manage impulsive unhealthy eating. £57,000 University of Exeter.


TARS. Multi-centre RCT of physical Activity assisted Reduction of Smoking: £1,821,614 NIHR Health Technology Assessment.


eCOACHER: Multi-centre RCT of augmented exercise referral using web-based behaviour change in individuals with obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis and depression. £1,372,156 NIHR Health Technology Assessment.


REACH-HF: Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH-HF). Funding: £1,999,487 NIHR Programme Grant.


NDPS (the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study): Full-scale RCT of a realistic Diabetes Prevention Programme in a UK community: £1,997,475 NIHR Programme Grant.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Exeter

Award Date: 3 Mar 2003


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