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Professor Ken Fox

Physical activity and health

Ken was appointed as Professor of Exercise and Health Sciences in 1999 and became Emeritus professor in 2011.  He now commits his time to research, consultancy and advising.  From the days of his early career as a physical education teacher and sport coach, Ken has been dedicated to promoting the field of exercise and public health and for his work was recently made a Fellow (by Distinction) of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK. In April 2014 his career achievements were recognised with an Alumni Fellowship from Kansas State University where he studied for an MSc in 1980. He has a strong interest in exercise, weight management, mental health and more recently physical activity promotion with older adults.  Since the early 80s he has published over 300 research and professional papers, including 35 book chapters. In 2004, he was the Senior Scientific Editor of the Chief Medical Officer's first report on physical activity and public health and has been a key contributor to the recent UK-wide guidelines Start Active, Stay Active. He serves or has served in several public offices including the role of physical activity advisor to the Health Select Committee Enquiry on Obesity, the Foresight Scientific Advisory Panel for Obesity, and the scientific advisory team for the government's obesity cross governmental strategy. For 12 years he was a Scientific Governor and Trustee of the British Nutrition Foundation and has been a member since its inception in 2005, of the scientific panel for the National Prevention Research Initiative (MRC/ESRC).

Ken's major research interest is in the psychology of exercise. His book entitled The Physical Self: From Motivation to Well-Being was the first of its type in the field and he developed the Physical Self-Perception Profile which is now translated into about 12  different languages and has been used in many published studies. He has also co-edited a book entitled Physical Activity and Psychological Well-being. Recently, through several funded projects such as Better Ageing, Project OPAL and OPAL PLUS, he continues to develop a unique body of research on physical activity and older people.

He has been awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Coimbra, is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences,  the UK Association for Physical Education, and the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education.  Ken has been married to Linda since 1980 and they have two grown up sons. He has recently become a proud grandfather of twin girls and he tries to remain sane and healthy through 5-a-side football, cycling, reluctant slogging and playing drums in a jazz combo.  

Research keywords

  • Physical activity and health
  • Exercise and mental health
  • Physical activity promotion in older adults Physical self-perceptions Children's development and activity