OBE for physical activity champion in New Year Honours list
Press release issued: 29 December 2018
Dr Charlie Foster from the University of Bristol has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, in recognition of his work to promote physical activity.
Dr Foster has gone from being a PE teacher in a secondary school to one of the world's leading experts in the field, regularly advising the Government on how best to get the UK moving and in turn improve public health.
Since joining the University of Bristol in 2017, his main research focus has been on leading scientific reviews to update the current UK national physical activity guidelines, working with over 50 UK and international academics and practitioners across all age groups.
He's part of the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, in the School for Policy Studies, where he teaches on the MSc Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health course.
Dr Foster has published over 200 papers and is well-known for his ability to clearly communicate his research, often describing the promotion of physical activity as a blend of both art and science.
He is passionately committed to translating science into useful outputs to benefit the public and has championed the development of new physical activity guidelines for previously overlooked groups, including pregnant women and those with disabilities.
On hearing the news of his OBE, Dr Foster said: "My time teaching PE to secondary school students, running gyms in car factories, working for the NHS in cardiac rehabilitation and primary care has shaped my approach as an academic by aiming to produce science that has a purpose and impact in the real world.
"I hope that this honour helps highlight the valuable role of physical activity research, policy and promotion as a critical mechanism to tackling global health, economic and environmental challenges.
"I will continue to advocate for an active society and for environments that are accessible to all, which offer opportunities for those who have the most to gain and that narrow, not increase, health inequalities."
Prior to joining the University of Bristol, Dr Foster worked as an academic and Deputy Director at the Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, University of Oxford.
In 2015, he was appointed the Chair of UK Chief Medical Officers Expert Committee for Physical Activity, providing advice on physical activity promotion to the governments of the four nations in the UK.
Dr Foster has global policy and advocacy experience through working with the World Health Organisation, the European Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.
His research has been recognised in awards from British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences, International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity and UK Department of Health. He serves on a number of funding boards for charities, including Cancer Research UK.