Dr Helen Coulthard

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort, University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 207 8828

E: hcoulthard@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/hls


Personal profile

A developmental psychologist who is primarily interested in the development of eating behaviour and psychopathology. Particular areas of interest include fruit and vegetable consumption, and food neophobia, throughout the lifespan.

Dr Coulthard's research centres on furthering understanding of the strategies that relate to increasing healthy food consumption, including exposure, modelling, restriction, pressure, as well as individual characteristics which contribute to pathology, such as anxiety and sensory processing.

She is also interested in the early predictors of problematic eating behaviour in later life.

Research group affiliations


Research interests/expertise

  • Feeding problems and eating behaviour in infants and children
  • Age of complementary feeding in infants
  • Baby food provision and later eating behaviour
  • Food neophobia
  • Fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Parental strategies, including exposure, modelling, control
  • Individual characteristics which influence consumption, including anxiety and sensory processing
  • Early predictors of later problematic behaviour, including neophobia, reduced fruit and vegetable consumption, emotional eating, external eating and restrained eating.

Areas of teaching

  • Infant development
  • Health psychology
  • Psychology of eating behaviour
  • Statistics and research methods.


  • BSc Psychology
  • PhD

Courses taught

Core areas in psychology

  • Infant Development
  • Psychology of Health and Food across the Lifespan.

Conference attendance

  • Feeding behaviour in Infancy and Childhood, March 2010, Institute of Child Health, London, ‘Sensory processing and eating behaviour’ , Invited speaker.
  • Postgraduate research conference, June 2010, Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyons, ‘Psychological determinants of food neophobia’, invited speaker.

Externally funded research grants information

Comparison of feeding behaviour in infants weaned early and late, Danone, research project, 01/10-08/11, CI, project based at University of Birmingham.

Professional esteem indicators

Journal reviewing activities

  • Appetite, 2011 to present, reviewer
  • British Journal of Health Psychology, 2009 to present, reviewer
  • Child Care Health & Development, 2011 to present, reviewer
  • Maternal Child Nutrition, 2009 to present, reviewer
  • Eating Behaviours, 2006 to present, reviewer
  • Public Health Nutrition, 2010 to present, reviewer.

Grant reviewing activities

  • National Institute Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research programme, 2011- present, reviewer.

Case studies

Dr Coulthard's research is very relevant to the advice given to parents about the strategies that are most effective in promoting a healthy diet in children. She has frequently attended postnatal groups and children’s centres, and talked to mothers about eating behaviour in children.

In addition, her research has been published in the media, especially on local news programmes and radio programmes. In addition there has been coverage on websites for both parental advice and the national media. She recently contributed to the BBC website, ‘Scrubbing Up’ which showcases opinions from experts in their field.

Helen Coulthard