Professor James McKenna, Professor of Sport

Professor James McKenna

Professor of Sport

A professor of Physical Activity and Health, Jim studies behaviour change at a range of levels; individual, social and whole community. He is Director of the Active Lifestyles research centre in the School of Sport.

Jim's current work involves evaluation of some substantial physical activity interventions. These include projects in Calderdale (centred on Halifax), Leeds and Doncaster. Each of these projects has a distinctive 'style'; his work aims to complement the preferred style, using principles drawn from behaviour change science, implementation science, whole systems approaches and human-centred design.

Jim has been heavily involved in the development and refinement of the massively successful BattleBack Centre, delivered through Carnegie Great Outdoors, at Lilleshall national sports centre. This work in united by the idea that better programmes, delivered by better prepared staff will secure more active involvement of community groups.

Much of Jim's work on behaviour change is deeply relevant to curriculum areas, including physical activity and health and to coaching, sport development, physical education and overall school improvement. It has a strong resonance with today's peri-COVID context in Public Health. Recent work in Doncaster assessing how major sporting events can be 'used' to secure community benefits, have shown how this work aligns well with major concerns in Events, Tourism  and Hospitality.

Jim also applies behaviour change concepts to teaching and learning, so is often involved in staff development activities.

Current Teaching

Most of Jim's teaching is linked to staff and PhD students, although he is always willing to undertake one-off lecturers with UG groups.

Research Interests

Jim's current work is highlighting the range of behaviour change strategies preferred by community agents as they seek to encourage more people into their programmes. The objective is to learn how to refine these strategies to address the decision-making effects of prolonged scarcity, so programmes become better in involving more people from their under-active target groups. This is a growing concern across whole communities. Our work is showing how these agents can successfully use socially-oriented and structurally-relevant influences to complement their usual reliance on self-regulation.

Professor James McKenna, Professor of Sport

Ask Me About

  1. Doping
  2. Exercise and physical activity
  3. Physical education
  4. Sport
  5. Sport Psychology

Selected Outputs

  • Puig-Ribera A; Bort-Roig J; González-Suárez AM; Martínez-Lemos I; Giné-Garriga M; Fortuño J; Martori JC; Muñoz-Ortiz L; Milà R; McKenna J (In press) Patterns of Impact Resulting from a ‘Sit Less, Move More’ Web-Based Program in Sedentary Office Employees. PLOS ONE, 10 (4), pp. e0122474-e0122474.

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  • Daly-Smith AJ; Zwolinsky S; Mckenna J; Tomporowski PD; Defeyter M; Manley A (2018) Systematic review of acute physically active learning and classroom movement breaks on children's physical activity, cognition, academic performance and classroom behaviour: understanding critical design features. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med, 4 (1), pp. e000341-e000341.

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  • Costello NB; McKenna J; Deighton K; Jones B (2017) Commentary; Snap-N-Send: A Valid and Reliable Method for Assessing the Energy Intake of Elite Adolescent Athletes. Frontiers in Nutrition

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  • Puig-Ribera A; Bort-Roig J; Giné-Garriga M; González-Suárez AM; Martínez-Lemos I; Fortuño J; Milà R; Muñoz-Ortiz L; Gilson ND; McKenna J (2017) Can a workplace 'sit less, move more' programme help Spanish office employees achieve physical activity targets?. European Journal of Public Health, 27 (5), pp. 926-928.

  • Campbell MD; Kime NH; McKenna J (2017) Exercise and physical activity in patients with type 1 diabetes. The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, 5 (7), pp. 493-493.

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  • Backhouse SH; Griffiths C; McKenna J (2017) Tackling doping in sport : a call to take action on the dopogenic environment. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52 pp. 1485-1486.

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  • South J; Giuntoli G; Kinsella K; Carless D; Long J; McKenna J (2017) Walking, connecting and befriending: a qualitative pilot study of participation in a lay-led walking group intervention. Journal of Transport and Health, 5 pp. 16-26.

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  • Puig-Ribera A; Bort-Roig J; Giné-Garriga M; González-Suárez AM; Martínez-Lemos I; Fortuño J; Martori JC; Muñoz-Ortiz L; Milà R; Gilson ND (2017) Impact of a workplace 'sit less, move more' program on efficiency-related outcomes of office employees. BMC Public Health, 17 (1),

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  • Zwolinsky S; McKenna J; Pringle A; Widdop P; Griffiths C; Mellis M; Rutherford Z; Collins P (2016) Physical activity and sedentary behaviour clustering: Segmentation to optimise active lifestyles. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 13 (9), pp. 921-928.

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  • Pardo A; Mitjans A; Baranda L; Salamero M; McKenna J; Arteman A; Violán M (2016) The transition of medical students through residency: Effects on physical activity and other lifestyle-related behaviors. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 13 (5), pp. 488-493.

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  • Lozano L; Pringle A; Carless D; McKenna J (2016) ‘It brings the lads together’: A critical exploration of older men’s experiences of a weight management programme delivered through a Healthy Stadia project. Sport in Society, 20 (2), pp. 303-315.

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  • Till K; Jones B; McKenna J; Whitaker L; Backhouse SH (2016) The search for size: A doping risk factor in adolescent rugby?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50 (4), pp. 203-204.

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  • Puig-Ribera A; Gilson N; Mckenna J; Bort-Roig J; Muñoz L; Brown WJ (2015) When workplace walking programmes do not achieve the best health outcomes: Barriers to and facilitators of increasing step counts in office employees. PLoS One

  • Puig-Ribera A; Martínez-Lemos I; Giné-Garriga M; González-Suárez ÁM; Bort-Roig J; Fortuño J; Muñoz-Ortiz L; McKenna J; Gilson ND (2015) Self-reported sitting time and physical activity: interactive associations with mental well-being and productivity in office employees. BMC Public Health, 15 (1),

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  • Hind K; Torgerson D; McKenna J; Ashby R; Daly-Smith A; Truscott J; Mackay H (2014) Developing Interventions for Children’s Exercise (D.I.C.E.): A pilot evaluation of school-based exercise interventions for primary school children aged 7 to 8 years. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 11 (4), pp. 699-704.

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  • Pringle A; Zwolinsky S; McKenna J; Daly-Smith A; Robertson S; White A (2013) Delivering men's health interventions in english premier league football clubs: Key design characteristics. Public Health, 127 (8), pp. 716-726.

  • Robertson S; Zwolinsky S; Pringle A; McKenna J; Daly-Smith A; White A (2013) 'It is fun, fitness and football really': a process evaluation of a football-based health intervention for men. Qualitiative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 5 (3), pp. 419-439.

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  • Crust L; McKenna J; Spence J; Thomas C; Evans D; Bishop D (2012) The effects of playground markings on the physical self-perceptions of 10–11-year-old school children. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, pp. 1-12.

  • Pardo A; McKenna J; Mitjans A; Camps B; Violán M (2012) Physical activity level and lifestyle-related risk factors from Catalan physicians. Preventive Medicine, 55 (3), pp. 256-257.

  • Zwolinsky S; Pringle A; Daly-Smith A; McKenna J; Robertson S; White A (2012) Associations between daily sitting time and the combinations of lifestyle risk factors in men. Journal of Men's Health, 9 (4), pp. 261-267.

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  • Fox KR; Hillsdon M; Sharp D; Cooper AR; Coulson JC; Davis M; Harris R; McKenna J; Narici M; Stathi A (2011) Neighbourhood deprivation and physical activity in UK older adults. Health and Place, 17 (2), pp. 633-640.

  • Pringle A; Zwolinsky S; Smith AJW; Robertson S; McKenna J; White A (2011) The pre-adoption demographic and health profiles of men participating in a programme of men's health delivered in English Premier League Football Clubs. Public Health, 125 (7), pp. 411-416.

  • Stathi A; Mckenna J; Fox KR (2010) Processes Associated with Participation and Adherence to a 12-month Exercise Programme for Adults Aged 70 and older. Journal of Health Psychology, 15 (6), pp. 838-847.

  • Hester JR; McKenna J; Gately PJ (2010) Obese young people's accounts of intervention impact. Patient Education and Counseling, 79 (3), pp. 306-314.

  • Pringle A; Gilson N; Marsh K; McKenna J; Cooke CB (2010) Cost effectiveness of interventions to improve moderate physical-activity: A study in nine UK sites. Health Education Journal, 69 (2), pp. 211-224.

  • Gilson ND; Puig-Ribera A; McKenna J; Brown WJ; Burton NW; Cooke CB (2009) Do walking strategies to increase physical activity reduce reported sitting in workplaces: a randomized control trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 6 (43),

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  • Gilson N; Brown WJ; Faulkner G; McKenna J; Murphy M; Pringle A; Proper K; Puig-Ribera A; Stathi A (2009) The International Universities Walking Project: Development of a Framework for Workplace Intervention Using the Delphi Technique. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 6 (4), pp. 520-528.

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  • Cobley S; Baker J; Wattie N; McKenna J (2009) Annual Age-Grouping and Athlete Development. Sports Medicine, 39 (3), pp. 235-256.

  • Trotman-Beasty A; McKenna J; Ingle L (2009) An evaluation of a primary and secondary care cardiac rehabilitation service pathway. British Journal of Cardiac Nursing, 4 (4), pp. 178-184.

  • Coulson JC; Mckenna J; Field M (2008) Exercising at work and self-reported work performance. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 1 (3), pp. 176-197.

  • Gilson ND; Ainsworth B; Biddle S; Faulkner G; McKenna J; Murphy M; Niven A; Pringle P; Puig-Ribera A; Stathi A (2008) Interested in promoting walking at work? first things first, assess your workplace environment?. Sport and Health, 26 pp. 11-13.

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