Deborah Lycett, RD

Dr, BSc (Hons), PGCHE

Accepting PhD Students

  • 635 Citations
  • 9 h-Index
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Personal profile


Dr. Deborah Lycett is Reader (Assoc Prof) in Nutrition, Dietetics and Spiritual Health 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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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2011 2019

1 Citations (Scopus)

Screening and brief intervention for obesity in primary care: cost-effectiveness analysis in the BWeL trial

Retat, L., Pimpin, L., Webber, L., Jaccard, A., Lewis, A., Tearne, S., Hood, K., Christian-Brown, A., Adab, P., Begh, R., Jolly, K., Daley, A., Farley, A., Lycett, D., Nickless, A., Yu, L-M., Jebb, S. & Aveyard, P. 31 Jan 2019 In : International Journal of Obesity. (In-press), p. (In-press)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cost-Benefit Analysis
Primary Health Care
Health Care Costs
Weight Loss

The equity impact of brief opportunistic interventions to promote weight loss in primary care: secondary analysis of the BWeL randomised trial

Graham, J., Tudor, K., Jebb, S. A., Lewis, A., Tearne, S., Adab, P., Begh, R., Jolly, K., Daley, A., Farley, A., Lycett, D., A, N. & Aveyard, P. 1 Mar 2019 In : BMC Medicine. 17, 9 p., 51

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Weight Loss
Primary Health Care
Weight Reduction Programs
Social Class
Referral and Consultation
5 Citations (Scopus)

Effects on abstinence of nicotine patch treatment before quitting smoking: parallel, two arm, pragmatic randomised trial

Preloading investigators 13 Jun 2018 In : BMJ. 361, 11 p., k2164

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Pragmatic Clinical Trials
Tobacco Use Cessation Products
Odds Ratio
Smoking Cessation

Nicotine preloading for smoking cessation: the Preloading RCT

Aveyard, P. , Lindson, N. , Tearne, S. , Adams, R. , Ahmed, K. , Alekna, R. , Banting, M. , Healy, M. , Khan, S. , Rai, G. , Wood, C. , Anderson, E. C. , Ataya-Williams, A. , Attwood, A. , Easey, K. , Fluharty, M. , Freuler, T. , Hurse, M. , Khouja, J. , Lacey, L. & 21 others Munafò, M., Lycett, D., McEwen, A., Coleman, T., Dickinson, A., Lewis, S., Orton, S., Perdue, J., Randall, C., Anderson, R., Bisal, N., Hajek, P., Homsey, C., McRobbie, H. J., Myers-Smith, K., Phillips, A., Przulj, D., Li, J., Coyle, D., Coyle, K. & Pokhrel, S. Aug 2018 In : Health Technology Assessment. 22, 41, p. 1-84 84 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Smoking Cessation
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Confidence Intervals
Open Access
Randomized Controlled Trial

Activities 2010 2016

European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health 2016

Lycett, D. (Speaker)
May 2016

Activity: Participation in conference

British Dietetic Association (External organisation)

Lycett, D. (Member)
2016 → …

Activity: Membership of working group

British Dietetic Association (External organisation)

Lycett, D. (Member)
2015 → …

Activity: Membership of board

British Dietetic Association (External organisation)

Lycett, D. (Chair)
2015 → …

Activity: Membership of committee