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Personal profile


Tessa is an epidemiologist with expertise in the measurement of physical activity in population surveys. She also researches the associations between physical activity and health outcomes using device-based measures of activity.

Tessa undertook her PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2014-2017) before moving to the MRC Epidemiology Unit as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. She was promoted to Senior Research Associate in 2022. Tessa returned to the University of Edinburgh in 2023 in a variety of short-term roles whilst undertaking consultancy work for the World Health Organization.

Tessa has led a number of major projects resulting in publications in high-impact journals. These include:

  • the first prospective analysis of device measured activity and mortality risk using UK Biobank data, focussing on the importance of activity intensity (Nature Medicine);
  • the application of the Prevented Fraction for the Population to global physical activity data to quantify deaths averted by current levels of activity (Lancet Global Health);
  • the largest nationally representative analysis of physical activity levels in the UK during the first COVID-19 lockdown (Lancet Regional Health Europe);
  • and an investigation into the relative contributions of different domains of activity (work/household, travel, leisure) to 104 countries worldwide (British Journal of Sports Medicine).

Tessa also regularly contributes to policy discussions around the measurement of physical activity in the four UK home nations. She co-chaired a Chief Medical Officer appointed expert group on physical activity surveillance 2019-2021 and continues to work to implement the recommendations made.


External positions

Visiting Researcher, MRC Epidemiology Unit

1 Jan 20231 Jan 2025

College Research Themes

  • Data & Digital
  • Health & Wellbeing


Dive into the research topics where Tessa Strain is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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