Dr Sharon Carstairs


Health Sciences, School of Health Sciences

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Sharon is a Lecturer (Teaching and Research) in the School of Health Sciences. She is a member of the Nutrition Society, The British Feeding and Drinking Group, and the Social Prescribing Network.

Sharon completed her BSc (Hons) in Physiology Sports Science and Nutrition at the University of Glasgow and started her career in academia as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Abertay Dundee lecturing and co-ordinating modules in the fields of Nutrition and Physiology.  She went on to undertake her PhD investigating the “Determinants of seafood inclusion in pre-school age children” at the University of Aberdeen. She has since held research positions at the University of St Andrews working on a variety of research projects including;

  • pre-school feeding projects investigating the effects of external cues (e.g. portion size) and individual characteristics (e.g. child trait eating behaviours, parental feeding practices) on eating behaviour and consumption
  • social prescribing and community-based physical activity promotion from primary care
  • she additionally provided interim project organisational and reporting support on the project “Enabling Learning NHS Care Systems utilizing Electronic Medical Records (ELeCtra) in Fife: Innovative opportunities to support the NHS Fife Clinical Strategy”

Sharon has research experience in mixed methodology approach, and has expertise in designing and conducting quantitative surveys, dietary interventions, Q Methodology think aloud interviews and analysis, and qualitative focus group discussions, internet discussion forums, and one-to-one interviews. Sharon has an interest in co-design and participatory research methods and was a co-organiser and committee member of the Design St Andrews initiative which aimed to provide a network opportunity to connect, inspire and exchange design ideas.


My primary research interest is childhood nutrition, specifically exploring parental views and practices in early years and pre-school aged feeding, and investigating the effects of external cues on eating behaviour. I have a wider interest in health promotion and behaviour change, including social prescribing of physical activity and its implementation to improve health and wellbeing.

View full research profile and publications