Dr Clare Pettinger

Dr Clare Pettinger

Lecturer in Public Health Dietetics

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)

Clare can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Nutrition
  • Healthy eating
  • Public health dietetics
  • Public health nutrition
  • Food poverty and access
  • The future of food: sustainable diets

Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist and experienced educator. 

Actively engaged in community research around food systems, poverty and social justice, leading the 'Food as a Lifestyle Motivator' (FLM) project, which explores creative methods to engage 'marginalized' communities in food activities to enhance their health, well-being and life skills. See link: FLM project See recent documentary film: Food on the margins in Plymouth (produced by Fotonow CIC, funded via Creative Associates award from Sustainable Earth Institute)

Completed research fellowship (2017) to evaluate the initial stages of the Thrive Plymouth (4-4-54) 10 year inequalities programme, which led to my winning the CAHPR Public Health Research award. Previously led a comprehensive process evaluation of the Cities of Service 'Grow, Share, Cook' project in Plymouth (2016). Previously on the research team for an exploratory and developmental trial of a family centred nutrition intervention delivered in Children's centres and the home environment (UCL/UoP collaboration, 2012). 

I believe strongly that new creative approaches are required to tackle current local (and global) health and social well-being challenges.

Passionate about Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition, I frequently act as an advocate for my professions by exchanging knowledge with students and offering expert consultancy on sustainable healthy eating and food related issues to the media and local/regional networks. I am also an active member of the Food Plymouth partnership, and lead on the Food Equality (poverty) aspect of their action plan.

I am an enthusiastic 'sustainability champion' involved in promoting environmentally sustainable diets for nutrition professionals (working with British Dietetic Association to co-produce the One Blue Dot campaign & AHP sustainability advisory group). I won highly commended for a 2017 SSTAR award for sustainability in the curriculum. 


1999 BSc Hons Nutrition & Dietetics, Glasgow Caledonian University (2i)

2004 PhD Public Health Nutrition, University of Nottingham "A comparison of the influences on food choice in Southern France and Central England"

2007 Post Graduate certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Professional membership

Health & Care Professions Council - Registered Dietitian
Association for Nutrition - Registered Nutritionist (Public Health)
Member of British Dietetic Association (BDA) 
Public Health Nutrition Network (BDA specialist group)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (from 2008)

Roles on external bodies

Food Plymouth (Plymouth Food Charter). Director of Food Plymouth CIC (from 2014-2016). Lead for Health and Wellbeing (food poverty) action for Food Plymouth

Strategic Lead Plymouths Food Equality Project

Sunflower Recovery Project steering group (2016-19)

Editorial Board for Urban Food Futures (online magazine) (from 2017)

Advisory panel for Food Research Collaboration (from March 2018)

British Dietetic Association (BDA) steering group for Environmentally Sustainable Diets (2017-2019) One Blue Dot

Chief Alllied Health Professional (AHP) Officers Sustainability Advisory Group (from June 2020)

Teaching interests

Main teaching responsibilities include Undergraduate (Dietetics) and PostGraduate (Human Nutrition):

'Food choice'/access; Public Health Nutrition; Environmentally Sustainable Diets; Food Systems; Inequalities, food (in)security and poverty; Epidemiology; Research skills

I also deliver Public Health Nutrition for other faculties

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with a keen interest in enhancing student learning experiences. 

Nominated for SSTAR award (Feb 2017) for 'sustainability within the curriculum'

Staff serving as external examiners

Previously external examiner for Sheffield Hallam University (2013-17) Masters in Public Health Management

Research interests

My research falls into two broad fields:

1. Public Health Nutrition
2. Pedagogy 

1. Public Health Nutrition       
(current) The 'Food as a Lifestyle Motivator' (FLM) project: Using Creative methods to explore food as a lifestyle motivator to enhance health, well-being and life-skills in marginalized communities. Funded by ISSR, ESRC and British Academy

Interests: Critical nutrition/dietetics - creative methods - co-production - community engagement - evaluation of community food projects

2. Pedagogy

Previous - Exploring the importance of 'sustainability principles' for dietetic practice and how to streamline these into the dietetic curriculum

Supporting students with Specific Learning Difficulties on placement

Research Group(s)
Dietetics, Human Nutrition & Health

Keen interest in participatory creative and visual methodologies, and use of knowledge exchange and 'Public Engagement', making research more accessible to diverse audiences

Grants & contracts

1. Public Health Nutrition

Community grants (Food Power) 2018-2020 to run Food Equality Project

Food Plymouth (Sustainable Food Places) grant holder (2020)

British Academy summer showcase - 2019

Recently completed (2017) British Academy/Leverhulme small grant (£10K) to evolve the creative methods used in the 'Food as a Lifestyle Motivator' (FLM) to turn these into solutions for engaging individuals through food activities.

2015 (April) £3K Plymouth City Council - independent evaluation 'Grow Share Cook'

2010 £1500 Dept Health local - evaluation consultancy 'Food Cultures'

Plymouth University internal funding bids:

2014 (March) £5K - ISSR small collaborative award - food as a 'lifestyle motivator'

2015 (Jan) £1K - IHC pump priming grant 

2015 - 2020 - annual award funding success to host ESRC Festival of Social Science food event

2. Pedagogy

2014 (Jan) £19K Inclusivity Development project 'creating an interactive toolkit for supporting health profession students with Specific learning difficulties on placement

2016 (June) £4500 PedRIO Teaching Innovation fund 'exploring importance of sustainability principles for dietitians.


Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Pettinger C, Parsons J, Letherby G, Cunningham M, Withers L & Whiteford A 2019 'Participatory food events as collaborative public engagement opportunities' Methodological Innovations , DOI PEARL
Pettinger C 2018 'Sustainable eating: Opportunities for nutrition professionals' Nutrition Bulletin , DOI PEARL
Pettinger C, Letherby G, Parsons JM, Withers L, Cunningham M, Whiteford A, D'Aprano G, Ayres R & Sutton C 2018 'Employing Participatory Methods to Engage an Under-Researched Group: opportunities and challenges' Methodological Innovations 11, (1) , DOI PEARL
Turbott C, Richardson J & Pettinger C 2018 'The impact of hot food takeaways near schools in the UK on childhood obesity: A systematic review of the evidence' Journal of Public Health , DOI PEARL
Williamson S, McGregor-Shenton M, Brumble B, Wright B & Pettinger C 2017 'Deprivation and Healthy Food Access, Cost and Availability: A Cross-Sectional Study' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics , DOI PEARL
Pettinger C, Parsons JM, Cunningham M, Withers L, D'Aprano G, Letherby G, Sutton C, Whiteford A & Ayres R 2017 'Engaging homeless individuals in discussion about their food experiences to optimise wellbeing: A pilot study' Health Education Journal , DOI PEARL
Watt RG, Draper A, Ohly HR, Rees GA, Pikhart H, Cooke L, Moore L, Crawley H, Pettinger C & McGlone P 2014 'Methodological development of an exploratory randomised controlled trial of an early years’ nutrition intervention: Cherry (Choosing Healthy Eating when Really Young)' Maternal Child Nutrition 10, 280-294
Ohly H, Pealing J, Hayter AKM, Pettinger C, Pikhart H, Watt RG & Rees G 2013 'Parental food involvement predicts parent and child intakes of fruits and vegetables' Appetite 69, 8-14 Author Site , DOI
Ohly HR, Hayter A, Pettinger C, Pikhart H, Watt RG & Rees GA 2013 'Developing a nutrition intervention in children's centres: exploring views of parents in rural/urban settings in the UK' Public Health Nutr 16, (8) 1516-1521 Author Site , DOI
Hayter AKM, Draper AK, Ohly HR, Rees GA, Pettinger C, McGlone P & Watt RG 2013 'A qualitative study exploring parental accounts of feeding pre-school children in two low-income populations in the UK' Maternal and Child Nutrition doi: 10.1111/mcn.12017,
Pettinger C 2007 ''All under one roof?' differences in food availability and shopping patterns in Southern France and Central England' The European Journal of Public Health 18, (2) 109-114 , DOI
Pettinger C, Holdsworth M & Gerber M 2007 'Meal patterns and cooking practices in Southern France and Central England' Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 51, 308-309
Pettinger C, Holdsworth M & Gerber M 2006 'Meal patterns and cooking practices in Southern France and Central England' Public Health Nutrition 9, (8) 1020-1026
Pettinger C, Holdsworth A & Gerber A 2004 'Psycho-social influences on food choice in Southern France and Central England' Appetite 42, (3) 307-316
Carlsson L, Mehta K & Pettinger C 2019 'Critical Dietetics and Sustainable Food Systems' in Coveney J; Booth S Critical Dietetics and Critical Nutrition Studies Switzerland Springer 97-115 , DOI PEARL
Parsons J & Pettinger C 2017 '‘Liminal identities’ and power struggles, reflections on the regulation of everyday foodways at a homeless centre and the use of creative participatory research as a tool of empowerment and resistance' in Bleakley A; Lynch L; Whelan G Risk and Regulation at the Interface of Medicine and the Arts Dangerous Currents Cambridge Cambridge Scholars 171-189 Author Site Publisher Site PEARL
Marshall D & Pettinger C 2009 'Revisiting British Meals' in Meiselman HL Meals in Science and Practice: Interdisciplinary research and business applications Oxford Woodhead Publishing Ltd
Conference Papers
Pettinger C, Cunningham M, Parsons JM, Ayres R, D'Aprano G, Whiteford A & Letherby G 2016 'USING CREATIVE METHODS TO ENGAGE ‘MARGINALIZED’ GROUPS IN FOOD/NUTRITION ACTIVITIES: A PLYMOUTH PILOT STUDY' International Congress of Dietetics Granada, Spain 9-/-0/20169-/-0/2016PEARL
Burnett R, Hallam C, Kirby R, Ponting H, White N & Pettinger C 2016 'Exploring food experiences and challenges in traditionally hard-to-reach adults through a cross-sectional questionnaire' PEARL
Watt RG, Hayter A, Ohly H, Pikhart H, Draper A, Crawley H, McGlone P, Cooke L, Moore L & Pettinger C 2013 'An exploratory randomised controlled trial of a public health nutrition intervention delivered in children's centres in Islington and Cornwall' 100-100
Pettinger C & Bonney R 2016 Process Evaluation Cities of Service ‘Grow, Share, Cook’ Project Plymouth. Plymouth City Council Plymouth Author Site PEARL
Pettinger C & Whitelaw E 2012 Food Cultures: Growing Cooking Eating - An exploration of improving food practices in young men and older adults in Plymouth. Department of Health (SW); NHS; Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) Plymouth Author Site PEARL
Pettinger C, Atherton E & Miller W Pettinger C, Atherton E & Miller W 0 'Engaging student dietitians in ‘sustainability principles’ throughout the curriculum: an exploratory pedagogic workshop' , DOI PEARL
Pettinger C Pettinger C 0 'Food narratives from women in recovery (from alcohol and substance abuse)' PEARL
Pettinger C & Atherton E Pettinger C & Atherton E 0 'Mainstreaming ‘sustainable food’ as a health issue? A workshop to share best practice in sustainable public health food policy' PEARL
Pettinger C, Bannigan K, Nelder R & Nnoaham K Pettinger C, Bannigan K, Nelder R & Nnoaham K 0 'Uncovering the complexity of workplace wellbeing using a cross-case analysis approach' PEARL
Other Publications
Pettinger C 2018 Helping women recover from drug and alcohol addiction – can food play a part?. Publisher Site
Flint P, Pettinger C, schoen V, Segal R, Taylor R, Wheeler B & Williams C 2017 Using the Arts for Food Research and Dialogue. London Food Research Collaboration Publisher Site PEARL
0 Cooking Beat the Demons in my head.
Pettinger C 0 Creative collaborative ways of ‘doing’ and ‘sharing’ research. Publisher Site
0 Food: On the Margins in Plymouth. Fotonow CIC Publisher Site

Other academic activities

Marketing and Admissions tutor for BSc(Hons) Dietetics programme - Values Based Recruitment 

Actively engaged in activities that promote (nutritional and sustainable) health and wellbeing of students and staff in the University and other local sectors and communities

Have acted as peer reviewer for various journals: e.g. Appetite; Journal of Human Nutrition & Dietetics; Public Health Nutrition

Invited reviewer for Department of Health Policy Research Programme

Frequent media engagement 

Additional information

Personal interests:

Mother of twin boys (Clyde and Jago), born July 2011

Music and performance: The Singing Dietitian ; (lead vocal 9 piece soul/funk band The Cuckoo Collective; 4 female a capella group The Q-dettes  ; Trustee for Plymouth Music Zone; art and craft; cooking; fund-raising; running, wild swimming...