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History and impact

Our history

Established in 1987 and housed in a suite of purpose-built laboratories, the centre consists of a critical mass of young researchers working within an experienced support structure and provides arguably the finest facility in the world for the study of the exercising child.

Historically, the Centre established its reputation on studies examining the relationship between habitual physical activity, cardio-respiratory fitness and health in young people (funded by the British Heart Foundation), and through the assessment and interpretation of aerobic and anaerobic metabolic capacities in youth (funded by the National Lottery Fund, and the Darlington Trust).

The Centre's international eminence in paediatric physiology research was recognised by the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 1998. The prize, the first of its kind to be awarded in the exercise and sport sciences, was presented to the Vice-Chancellor by HM Queen at Buckingham Palace, with the citation:

The Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre has established Paediatric Exercise Science as an academic field of study in this country and is now a leading World Centre. The promotion of more active lifestyles, and understanding the benefits of healthy living have become part of the agenda for many people as a direct result of its work.

Our impact

The Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre has established an international reputation for its research into the crucial field of exercise as a key contribution to the health of schoolchildren. Through its research, teaching, publications and extensive media coverage, the Centre has raised awareness both among professionals and the general public of children's inactivity and its implications for health and well-being throughout life.

Using its research findings, the Centre seeks to release well-researched information that will promote children's health and well-being locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Projects have been run with a number of top companies. The Centre has also established its own charity, the Healthy Heart Research Trust, to help fund its research.

An important part of CHERC’s success is due to its close partnership with the local community. Work with teachers in local schools has helped the Centre to initiate and sustain the health-related fitness movement in schools throughout the UK and to influence significantly the content and teaching of health and physical education curricula in schools, colleges and institutions of higher education.

We also offer the first taught MSc programme in Paediatric Exercise and Health Sciences in the world, where our students are exposed to and learn from many of our research studies and in certain instances we have provided opportunities for them to become authors on journal articles.