Photo of Deborah Lycett

Deborah Lycett, RD

Professor, BSc (Hons), PGCHE

Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile


Prof. Deborah Lycett RD PhD is Professor and Theme Lead of Behavioural Sciences in the Centre of Intelligent Healthcare, she also has a personal conferred Professorship in Religious Health Interventions and Dietetic Practice. Her research explores whole-person approaches to chronic disease management. She has investigated tobacco addiction, obesity and diabetes with particular emphasis on the psychological and spiritual aspects of eating behaviour. She has introduced the concept of spiritual care into dietetic practice and continues to explore this. She is also interested to see more generally what the role of faith-based interventions is on health and well-being. Her research partnerships span the NHS, public health departments, commercial and private health providers, as well as the third sector. Professor Lycett leads a large and diverse team of staff and PhD students all working together to improve and support the well-being and life quality of individuals, from behavioural, psychological, social and spiritual perspectives. Her methodological expertise ranges from randomised controlled trials to qualitative studies.


Professor Lycett served for several years on the Education Board of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), and was Chair of the BDA Quality Standards Committee. She sits on the Scientific Committee for the European Institute for Religion, Spirituality and Health. She is a Fellow of the Association of Higher Education and has taught in medical and health science faculties. She has 20 years of clinical experience as a dietitian having worked for many years in the NHS and also privately, running her own Nutrition and Dietetic Consultancy. She has a PhD in Behvaioural Medicine. 



Holistic, person-centred and evidence-based healthcare is what all healthcare workers strive to achieve, however it is still hard to determine how to do this effectively. The research around some aspects of holistic health, such as the integration of spirituality, is still in its infancy, relatively speaking, but interest is growing around the globe, at an exponential rate.

For example, my work on obesity shows that far from considering it can be solved simply by addressing physical energy balance, we need to also consider the psychological and spiritual factors that drive eating. As a society we need a compassionate and non-judgemental approach towards obesity, viewing it as a chronic, relapsing, remitting condition, where our aim is to reduce the harms associated with it; rather than view it as a lack of self-control and seek weight loss at all costs. So far, very little attention has been given to the spiritual or religious causes and consequences of those struggling with food and weight issues, or how faith-based organisations may help address these needs within the community. I have developed Taste & See: a church based programme to develop a healthy relationship with food, which I am currently testing in a multicentre cluster randomised controlled trial and building into a digital platform.

Area of Expertise:

  • Research methods
  • Religion, Spirituality and Health
  • Religiously-integrated health interventions
  • Nutrition and dietetics
  • Behavioural Medicine
  • Psychology of Eating and Weight Control
  • Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain

Research Interests

Obesity; Spiritual Health; Emotional Eating; Religion and Health; Nutrition and Dietetics; Psychology of Eating and weight control

Education/Academic qualification


Postgraduate Certificate


External positions

Education Board Member, British Dietetic Association

Chair of Education Quality Standards Commitee, British Dietetic Association

Scientific Committee, European Conference of Religion, Spirituality and Health

Research collaborator, Medical University of Lublin

Research Collaborator, University of Bern

Research collaborator, University of Birmingham

Research Collaborator, University of Oxford

Research collaborator, University of Warwick


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