Projects per year
Ailsa Welch is a Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology researching the effects of nutrition on aging, based at The University of East Anglia Medical School. Ailsa’s research focuses on understanding the protective factors in diet for musculoskeletal health (sarcopenia, loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with age), osteoporosis and fracture risk. She also researches into CVD and cancer, in developing dietary assessment methodologies, quantifying measurement error, and in evaluating public health improvement interventions. Ailsa’s research aims to understand the effects of micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) and diet quality (dietary patterns, fatty acids, protein & acid-base load) on musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health. Understanding how diet improves health during aging is important as the age profile of populations is increasing with consequences for the burden on health and social care. Micronutrient malnutrition also co-exists alongside obesity and chronic disease.
Ailsa has 212 peer-reviewed publications, an H Index of 77 (Scopus) and 21,000 citations. She is also a top 1% world researcher (Thompson Reuters, 2014).
Ailsa chaired the Nutrition & Lifestyle Forum of the National Osteoporosis Society and was a member of their Scientific Advisory Committee (2013-2019). She is also the scientific theme lead for Public Health Nutrition for the UK Nutrition Society. Ailsa chairs the initiative for ‘Optimising Nutrition and Hydration Practice in Care Homes’ and is a member of the Malnutrition Task Force.
Ailsa is was external examiner for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2014-2019. She previously led the Metabolic and Endocrine group of the Norfolk and Suffolk Comprehensive Local Research Network and was a member of the national group (2008 to 2015).
Prior to joining UEA, in 2007, Ailsa was based at the University of Cambridge where she developed dietary assessment methodologies for the European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition Study. She also worked at the Royal Society of Chemistry compiling the UK food composition databases and was at King’s College London, based in Somalia and Nigeria. Ailsa is a State Registered Dietitian.
Nutrition and musculoskeletal health (osteoporosis, fractures, sarcopenia & age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function)
- Diet and aging
- Dietary methodology
- Dietary fat and protein composition, micronutrients, dietary patterns and acid-base load
- Public health nutrition
DPHIL, University of Ulster (2005)
BSc Hons in Nutrition, 2:1 with Eligibility for state registration in dietetics, merit (1977)
Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice 2009
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2009-present)
State Registered Dietitian (SRD) No. DT 2305 (1977-present)
Registered Public Health Nutritionist and member, The Association of Nutrition (1999-2018)
British Nutrition Society, member (elected 1988-present). Scientific theme lead for Public Health Nutrition (2011-present). Member of the Council (2009-2012)
British Dietetic Association, member (number 1276) (1979-present)
The Association for the Study of Obesity, member (1995-2013)
The American Society for Nutrition, member (elected 2014-present)
The Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders, member (2015-2018)
The British Society of Gerontology (2017- 2019)
- External reviewer for 16 medical and nutrition journals
- Reviewer of grant applications for the Food Standards Agency, the UK Department of Health, The UK Diabetic Association, The National Osteoporosis Society, The World Cancer Research Fund and The NIHR.
- Reviewer of fellowship applications University of Cambridge Wolfson College.
- PhD examiner for the Universities of Cambridge, Surrey, Aberdeen, Central Lancashire, Newcastle and King’s College London
Key Research Interests and Expertise
- Nutrition and musculoskeletal health (osteoporosis, fractures, sarcopenia & age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function)
- Diet and aging
- Dietary methodology
- Dietary fat and protein composition, micronutrients, dietary patterns and acid-base load
- Public health nutrition
Recently accepted publications:
Hayhoe RPB, Lentjes MAH, Mulligan AA, Luben RN, Khaw KT, Welch AA.
Carotenoid dietary intakes and plasma concentrations are associated with heel bone ultrasound attenuation and osteoporotic fracture risk in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. B J Nut (Accepted 27/4/17)
Craig J, Bunn D, Hayhoe R, Appleyard W, Lenaghan E, Welch A.
The relationship between the Mediterranean dietary pattern and musculoskeletal health in children, adolescents and adults: a systematic review and evidence map. Nutrition Research Reviews (Accepted 21/4/17)
Kelaiditi E, Jennings A, Steves CJ, Skinner J, Cassidy A, MacGregor AJ, Welch AA
Measurements of skeletal muscle mass and power are positively related to a Mediterranean dietary pattern in women. Osteoporos Int. 2016 Nov;27(11):3251-3260
Welch AA, Kelaiditi E, Jennings A, Steves CJ, Spector TD, MacGregor A.
Dietary Magnesium Is Positively Associated With Skeletal Muscle Power and Indices of Muscle Mass and May Attenuate the Association Between Circulating C-Reactive Protein and Muscle Mass in Women. J Bone Miner Res. 2016 Feb;31(2):317-25.
Levy LB, Welch AA.
Implications of skeletal muscle loss for public health nutrition messages: a brief report. Proc Nutr Soc. 2015 Jun 11:1-4. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26062652. IF 4.937
Hayhoe RP, Lentjes MA, Luben RN, Khaw KT, Welch AA.
Dietary magnesium and potassium intakes and circulating magnesium are associated with heel bone ultrasound attenuation and osteoporotic fracture risk in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;102(2):376-84. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.102723. Epub 2015 Jul 1. IF 6.918
Jennings A, MacGregor A, Welch A, Chowienczyk P, Spector T, Cassidy A.
Amino Acid Intake Is Inversely Associated with Arterial Stiffness and Central Blood Pressure in Women. J Nutr. 2015 Jul 22. pii: jn214700. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26203100. IF 3.97
Finck H, Hart AR, Jennings A, Welch AA.
Is there a role for vitamin C in preventing osteoporosis and fractures? A review of the potential underlying mechanisms and current epidemiological evidence. Nutr Res Rev. 2014 Dec;27(2):268-83. IF 3.5
Weaver CM, Teegarden D, Welch A, Hwalla N, Lelièvre S.
International breast cancer and nutrition: a model for research, training and policy in diet, epigenetics, and chronic disease prevention. Adv Nutr. 2014 Sep;5(5):566-7. IF 4.7
Lentjes MA, Welch AA, Mulligan AA, Luben RN, Wareham NJ, Khaw KT.
Cod liver oil supplement consumption and health: cross-sectional results from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort study. Nutrients. 2014 Oct 16;6(10):4320-37. doi: 10.3390/nu6104320. IF 3.418
Lentjes MA, Welch AA, Keogh RH, Luben RN, Khaw KT.
Opposites don't attract: high spouse concordance for dietary supplement use in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk) cohort study. Public Health Nutr. 2015 Apr;18(6):1060-6. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014001396. Epub 2014 Jul 30. IF 2.679
Lentjes MA, Mulligan AA, Welch AA, Bhaniani A, Luben RN, Khaw KT.
Contribution of cod liver oil-related nutrients (vitamins A, D, E and eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) to daily nutrient intake and their associations with plasma concentrations in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2014 Sep 16. IF 1.987
Welch AA, Hardcastle AC.
The effects of flavonoids on bone. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2014 Jun;12(2):205-10. doi: 10.1007/s11914-014-0212-5. IF 2.728
Welch AA, MacGregor AJ, Minihane AM, Skinner J, Valdes AA, Spector TD, Cassidy A.
Dietary fat and fatty acid profile are associated with indices of skeletal muscle mass in women aged 18-79 years. J Nutr. 2014 Mar;144(3):327-34. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185256. IF 3.97
Nutritional influences on age-related skeletal muscle loss. Proc Nutr Soc. 2014 Feb;73(1):16-33. IF 3.62
Jennings A, Cassidy A, Winters T, Barnes S, Lipp A, Holland R, Welch A.
Positive effect of a targeted intervention to improve access and availability of fruit and vegetables in an area of deprivation. Health Place. 2012 Sep;18(5):1074-8. Epub 2012 Jun 1.
Welch A, Macgregor A, Jennings A, Fairweather-Tait S, Spector T, Cassidy A.
Habitual flavonoid intakes are positively associated with bone mineral density in women. J Bone Miner Res. 2012 Sep;27(9):1872-8.
Myint PK, Welch AA.
Healthier ageing. BMJ. 2012 Mar 12;344:e1214. doi:10.1136/bmj.e1214. PubMed PMID: 22411918.
Welch AA, Shakya-Shrestha S, Lentjes MA, Wareham NJ, Khaw KT.
Dietary intake and status of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in a population of fish-eating and non-fish-eating meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans and the precursor-product ratio of ?-linolenic acid to long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: results from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1040-51. Epub 2010 Sep 22. PubMed PMID: 20861171.
Welch AA, Fransen H, Jenab M, Boutron-Ruault MC, Tumino R, Agnoli C, Ericson U, Johansson I, Ferrari P, Engeset D, Lund E, Lentjes M, Key T, Touvier M, Niravong M, Larrañaga N, Rodríguez L, Ocké MC, Peeters PH, Tjønneland A, Bjerregaard L, Vasilopoulou E, Dilis V, Linseisen J, Nöthlings U, Riboli E, Slimani N, Bingham S.
Variation in intakes of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium in 10 countries in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;63 Suppl 4:S101-21. PubMed PMID: 19888269.
Welch AA, Mulligan A, Bingham SA, Khaw KT.
Urine pH is an indicator of dietary acid-base load, fruit and vegetables and meat intakes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk population study. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1335-43.
Welch AA, Bingham SA, Reeve J, Khaw KT.
More acidic dietary acid-base load is associated with reduced calcaneal broadband ultrasound attenuation in women but not in men: results from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Apr;85(4):1134-41.
International invited/keynote speaker or meeting chair - previous 5 years
- The links between micronutrient malnutrition, poor diet quality, sarcopenia and frailty. Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, February 2020
- Are antioxidant micronutrients important for sarcopenia, muscle and bone health? AIMMS Institute Melbourne, Australia, February 2020
- Magnesium, skeletal muscle health, sarcopenia, osteoporosis and fracture risk. Washington, USA, March 2019
- What’s the Score with Vitamins and Minerals? Osteoporosis 2018. Birmingham, UK.
- Plenary: The relationship between the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern and musculoskeletal health in children, adolescents & adults. The Nutrition Society of Australia, Canberra, Australia, November 2018
- Symposium: Micronutrients and aging of skeletal muscle. Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, November 2018
- Invited speaker: ‘The prevalence and potential impact of micronutrient malnutrition in the community on sarcopenia and frailty’ Rank Prize Funds meeting on Malnutrition through the life course, Grassmere, UK, July 2018
- Invited speaker: ‘Skeletal muscle loss in aging and its consequences for metabolism’. The Nutrition Society Summer conference, Leeds, UK, July 2018
- Invited speaker: ‘The relevance of dietary acid-base load to sarcopenia and aging of skeletal muscle’ conference on acid-base, nutrition, health & disease, Smolenice, Slovak republic June 2018
- Speaker: ‘Overview of diet methods, measurement error and rationale for use of biomarkers in population monitoring, a focus on benefits and limitations and practicalities 2) Advances in the use of nutritional biomarkers – rationale & limitations. Workshop ‘Capacity building in dietary monitoring and public health nutrition in the Eastern Mediterranean Region'. Rabat, Morocco, May 2018
- Invited speaker ‘The relationship between dietary fat and skeletal muscle and bone health in aging’, 10th International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis, Hong Kong, October 2017
Invited speaker 6th international breast cancer prevention symposium ‘Bioactives and prevention of breast cancer with an emphasis on carotenoids’, Los Angeles, USA, October 2016
Invited speaker conference on magnesium ‘Magnesium in osteoporosis and sarcopenia’, Rome, July 2016
National invited/keynote speaker or meeting chair
Invited speaker ‘Linking the concepts between nutrition epidemiology and public health nutrition’ Launch of textbook for the UK Nutrition Society, the Royal Society, London, May 2017
Invited Chair for session ‘Public health and nutrition strategies to promote good mental health’ in Conference ‘Diet, Nutrition and Mental Health and Wellbeing’, The Nutrition Society Winter Meeting, London, 2016
Invited speaker ‘Newer perspectives in nutrition for skeletal muscle aging and sarcopenia’, The University of Nottingham, UK, July 2016
Public Health Nutrition theme lead chair for the Public Health Nutrition Medal the Nutrition Society Summer Meeting, Dublin, July 2016
Invited chair poster presentations, The Nutrition Society Summer Meeting, Dublin, July 2016
Other international, national and regional conferences/oral presentations
Oral presentation ‘Higher dietary intakes of anti-oxidant vitamins C, E and carotene are associated with better measures of skeletal muscle mass and grip strength in men and women in the UK Biobank Study’, Barcelona, May 2017
East Anglia Public Health Forum ‘An effective UEA and Norfolk County Council collaboration: paediatric tier 3 weight management evaluation’, Richard Hayhoe, Ailsa Welch, October 2016
NNUH/UEA Joint Research Seminar ‘Nutrition, sarcopenia and healthy aging of muscles’, Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, July 2016
National and regional public engagement
Invited attendance at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPOG) meeting on ‘Vitamin D and Healthy Bones What’s Next?’
Research Group Membership
- Scientific lead for the ‘Public Health Nutrition theme’ for the Nutrition Society (2011 to present)
- Member of the Council of the UK Nutrition Society and member of the Science Committee (elected 2009)
- Chair of the Nutrition and Lifestyle Forum of the National Osteoporosis Society (2013 to 2019, member from 2009)
- Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Osteoporosis Society (2013 to 2019)
- Co-lead for the Norfolk and Suffolk Metabolic and Endocrine Specialty Group of the UK Comprehensive Local Research Network. Member of the UK National Metabolic and Endocrine Specialty Group (2007-2013)
- Co-lead for the Eastern Region Metabolic and Endocrine Specialty Group of the UK Comprehensive Research Network and member of the UK National Group (2013-2015)
Nutrition and healthy ageing (nutritional epidemiology): musculoskeletal health (sarcopenia, age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, osteoporosis & risk of fractures); dietary fat (fish & omega 3 fatty acids); dietary protein composition; vitamins & minerals and dietary acid-base balance. Dietary methodologies; translation of epidemiology into public health; evaluating public health interventions.
Ailsa has experience teaching in a wide range of contexts and topics both at undergraduate and post-graduate level. She has a number of internal and external PhD students. Ailsa also has a national role as a member of the Member of the national ICGN Undergraduate Nutrition Education Implementation Group for development of nutrition education in the medical undergraduate curriculum (since 2010), and has a number of teaching roles in the UEA MBBS.
Deputy lead module 6 (homeostasis & hormones - diabetes, endocrinology, renal & urology) with responsibility for curriculum organization and content, including timetabling, writing and checking scenarios and writing learning outcomes (2007-2013)
Deputy theme lead for nutrition with roles in curriculum development and assessment. Examples: increased number of seminars and lectures from 16 to 20, wrote exam questions and learning outcomes (2007-2013)
Student selected study (SSS) tutor and examiner for nutrition and epidemiological subjects – year 1 (2010 to present)
Research SSS (student selected studies) in nutrition. Students in years 2-4 (currently 5 – 6 in total) (2014 to present)
Electives tutor for 16 students (2015 to present)
Problem based learning tutor for the MBBS medical degree course for years 1, 3 and now 4 (group size of 10 for 20 weeks) (2008-2013)
Assessment: standard setting of exam papers for the MBBS, marking of critical appraisal reviews, research protocols
MBBS student adviser: pastoral and career advice to 7 students
MBBS research project student supervisor: development of projects, literature research, statistical analysis and writing of projects (2010-2012)
Lectures and seminars in nutrition and in epidemiological methods: ‘Nutritional Methods’, ‘Vitamin D & Calcium’, ‘Epidemiology of Anaemia’, ’Vitamins & Bioactives’, ‘Nutrition in Pregnancy & Early Life’, ‘Nutrition and Drug Interactions’ and ‘critical appraisal of a selected epidemiological paper’
Assessment for the UEA masters in medical research: marking of critical appraisal of peer reviewed papers
Postgraduate teaching session ‘How to write for publication (epidemiology)’ (2012-2015)
Project supervisor for University College Dublin undergraduate placement students (2009-2013)
External examiner for: MSc course in Nutrition for Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2014 to present)
Imperial College MSc in Cardiology: lecture ‘Diet and cardiovascular disease in a British population’ (2011-2014)
The University of Suffolk ‘Dietary Assessment and Measurement Error’ (2010).
University of Westminster MSc International Public Health Nutrition: lecture on ‘Dietary Nutritional measurement: issues and solutions with examples from the EPIC Study’ (2001-2011)
University of Cambridge Mphil in Epidemiology: Co-designed the nutritional epidemiology course and its content. Lectures and seminar discussions (1993-2007).
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine MSc Public Health Nutrition: lecture ‘the EPIC-Norfolk Study’ (1999-2001)
University of Surrey MSc in Nutritional Medicine: lecture ‘Dietary Assessment Methods’ (1999-2003)
- Introductory Certificate in Management Studies, pass 2001
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):
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The APW is created for producing three scoping reviews of the scientific literature to inform the development of updated requirements and upper limits of intake for iron, vitamin A and magnesium in children aged 0 3 years
5/03/21 → 30/09/22
Cross-sectional associations of schoolchildren’s fruit and vegetable consumption, and meal choices, with their mental well-being: a cross-sectional studyHayhoe, R., Rechel, B., Clark, A., Gummerson, C., Smith, S. J. L. & Welch, A., 27 Sep 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile10 Downloads (Pure)
Effects of fluid and drinking on pneumonia mortality in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysisHooper, L., Abdelhamid, A., Ajabnoor, S., Esio Bassey, C., Brainard, J., Brown, T., Bunn, D., Foster, E., Hammer, C., Hanson, S., Jimoh, F., Maimouni, H., Sandhu, M., Wang, X., Winstanley, L., Cross, J., Welch, A., Rees, K. & Philpott, C., 19 Nov 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Clinical Nutrition ESPEN.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
Fracture incidence and the relevance of dietary and lifestyle factors differ in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong: An international comparison of longitudinal cohort study dataHayhoe, R. P. G., Chan, R., Skinner, J., Leung, J., Jennings, A., Khaw, K-T., Woo, J. & Welch, A. A., Nov 2021, In: Calcified Tissue International. 109, 5, p. 563–576 14 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile2 Downloads (Pure)
Welch, A., Aug 2021, In: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 80, 3, p. 279-282 4 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile1 Downloads (Pure)