Deborah Lycett, RD

Professor, BSc (Hons), PGCHE, Professor

Accepting PhD Students

  • 873 Citations
  • 10 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Prof. Deborah Lycett RD PhD is Professor in Religious Health Interventions and Dietetic Practice in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. 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 is interested to see what the role is for faith-based, whole-person interventions, to help those with long-term conditions in the community. She is experienced in the design and clinical trial of interventions to improve eating behaviours in primary care and within churches. 

Deborah is on the Education Board of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), Chair of the BDA Quality Standards Committee and on the Scientific Committee for the European Institute for Religion, Spirituality and Health. She is a Fellow of the Association of Higher Education, and teaches in medical and health science faculties.She collaborates on projects with a wide variety of universities in the UK and abroad. She has been principal investigator on several National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded studies. She is published in The Lancet and regularly presents her research at national and international conferences.

Deborah 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. 



Sometimes in providing specific clinical advice for one condition we fail to see the bigger picture of what this means for a person as a whole. My research has previously investigated multiple behaviour change, namely weight and glycaemic control during smoking cessation. Having seen similar behaviours in tobacco addiction and emotional eating my focus is currently exploring whole person approaches to obesity. Far from considering that obesity 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 I believe we need a more 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 churches may be able to help those 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 mutli-center cluster randomised controlled trial. 

I am leading a new project, funded by the John Templton Foundation, to develop a taxonomy for Religious Health Interventions in Behavioural Sciences (RHIBS).


I am also interested more generally in the role of spiritual assessment within dietetic practice and how dietitians of the future can be trained to incorporate this into their care. I have several doctoral researchers working alongside me in these areas.


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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Research Output

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)

    Referral to Slimming World in UK Stop Smoking Services (SWISSS) versus stop smoking support alone on body weight in quitters: results of a randomised controlled trial

    Lycett, D., Aveyard, P., Farmer, A., Lewis, A. & Munafò, M., 26 Jan 2020, In : BMJ Open. 10, 1, 10 p., e032271.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Downloads (Pure)

    Examining the role of Parent Emotional Self-Regulation and Feeding Practices in Preschool aged Child Emotional Eating: a cross-sectional study

    Molitor, R., Williams, S., Blissett, J. & Lycett, D., 2019.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    12 Downloads (Pure)


    RHIBS Taxonomy International Workshop

    Riya Patel (Invited speaker), Deborah Lycett (Invited speaker)
    24 Oct 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Religions (Journal)

    Deborah Lycett (Guest Editor)
    1 May 201830 Nov 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

    European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health 2016

    Deborah Lycett (Speaker)
    May 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    British Dietetic Association (External organisation)

    Deborah Lycett (Member)
    2016 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of working group


    The effect of Sodium Bicarbonate on blood pressure in Chronic Kidney Disease stages I-V non- Renal Replacement Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

    Author: Beynon-Cobb, B. A., May 2019

    Supervisor: Tighe, B. (Supervisor), Lycett, D. (Supervisor) & Hamer, R. (External person) (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    What does spirituality mean to black and minority ethnic people with mental health problems?: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

    Author: Twining, F., Jun 2019

    Supervisor: Lawrence, T. (Supervisor), Lycett, D. (Supervisor), Bishop, J. (Supervisor) & Furze, G. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy