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Sarah Hanson

Lecturer in Health Sciences


Her research looks at physical exercise among marginalised groups and at health inequalities.



Sarah Hanson is Lecturer in Health Sciences in the School of Health Sciences at UEA. Her research looks at physical exercise among marginalised groups and at health inequalities. She looks at changing behaviours among particular groups where increased physical activity (such as frequent and longer walking) can make a significant difference to health and to lives. She has worked with a variety of communities including victims of domestic violence, people with learning disabilities, carers networks, public service workers, and women’s social groups. She is devising new ways to ensure sustained exercise – including technology guidance and reminders (through text messaging and apps). More recently she has studied particular communities that have been heavily restricted in their regular exercise by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Sarah’s PhD quantified the health benefits of health walks and their potential to increase health inequalities. She is leading a NIHR Public Health funded study which is taking a Community Asset Based approach to physical activity among more marginalised and inactive groups. She is a research adviser to the Howard League for Penal Reform and contributor to Macmillan Cancer support on cancer pre-habilitation.

Areas of Expertise

Exercise During COVID-19Health BenefitsHealth SciencesExerciseHealth Inequalities


University of East Anglia



University of East Anglia

M.A., Learning and Teaching


Media Appearances

New walking routes to open in Norwich

Eastern Daily Press  online


UEA's Dr Sarah Hanson who is an expert on the benefits of walking, said: "Walking in green spaces is one of the 'best buys' in terms of helping your mental and physical health. "It is especially good if you walk with others, helping with the social isolation that people of all ages are increasingly feeling."

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Walking dogs helps students cope with university stress

ITV  online


Dr Sarah Hanson, Lecturer, Health Sciences, UEA, said: “What an amazing thing to do to bring in dogs. "Kids really miss their pets when they go to university and the whole idea of getting out and doing an exercise you enjoy is brilliant. And the dogs have been fantastic.”

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Wide-Ranging Health Benefits of Walking Groups

World Health Net  online


Among the various modes of group fitness activities, joining an organized outdoor walking group is shown to confer improvements in blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and mood. Sarah Hanson, from the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom), and colleagues completed a meta-analysis of 42 studies of outdoor walking group interventions in adults.

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Comment: The real NHS crisis no politician dares talk about  online


We know Dave jogs and cycles – he's even been spotted body-boarding off the Cornish coast. Ed's healthy image took a hit with that unfortunate bacon sandwich incident, so he's keen to be seen pounding the pathways of Hampstead Heath. Nigel, well…it's anybody's guess how many pints he can throw back on an average day campaigning.

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Group walking may have many benefits, few harms

Reuters  online


“Walking groups are increasingly popular but until now we have not known if there are wider health benefits from walking groups, apart from increasing physical activity,” study co-author Sarah Hanson told Reuters Health in an email.

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Evaluating a specialist primary care service for patients experiencing homelessness: a qualitative study | BJGP Open


People experiencing homelessness (PEH) often experience poor health, multimorbidity, and early mortality and experience barriers to accessing high quality health care. Little is known about how best to provide specialist primary care for these patients.

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Interventions for reducing hospital-associated deconditioning: A systematic review and meta-analysis | Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics


To determine the effectiveness of hospital-based interventions designed to reduce Hospital-Associated Deconditioning (HAD) for people in inpatient hospital settings.

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Omega-3, omega-6 and total dietary polyunsaturated fat on cancer incidence: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials | British Journal of Cancer


The relationship between long-chain omega-3 (LCn3), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), omega-6 and total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intakes and cancer risk is unclear.

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Embedding Physical Activity into the Healthcare Curriculum–A Case Study | Education for Primary Care


Physical inactivity is a key risk factor for a wide range of non-communicable diseases, yet a large proportion of the population fail to meet recommended physical activity levels. Healthcare has been identified as a key setting in which to intervene to encourage physical activity behaviour change.

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Humanising medicine: teaching on tri-morbidity using expert patient narratives in medical education | Education for Primary Care


Expert patients have recognised benefits for both students and patients in medical education. However, marginalised patients such as homeless patients are less likely to participate. Learning from such individuals is crucial for future doctors, who can, in turn, aid their inclusion in society and improve access to health care.

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