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Dr Siobhán Leahy


School of Allied Health

Research Leader

Dr Rose Galvin

What attracted you to the Succeed and Lead Fellowship?

I was attracted to the Fellowship as I saw it as an ideal opportunity to develop my own research interests in a cross-disciplinary environment, and aid my transition to becoming an independent researcher.

Research Goal

The goal of my research is to improve health outcomes in older adults through the promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviours, thus prolonging healthy life years and reducing the health service demands associated with an ageing population.

Research Background

I completed my primary degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Limerick in 2008. In 2012, I was awarded my PhD on the subject of measurement methods of human body composition, also at the University of Limerick. I subsequently worked for five years as a post-doctoral researcher at The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), Trinity College Dublin.

Research Expertise

My main research interests are lifestyle related health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, and their impact on mental and physical health outcomes. I am also interested in social determinants of health. Specifically, I have investigated the prevalence and factors associated with both obesity and diabetes in older Irish adults. I have also studied the relationship between socioeconomic position and social participation and health outcomes (mental and physical) in the older adult population.  

Research Impact

The global population is ageing rapidly, which presents many challenges for health and social care systems. Coupled with this is an increase in disease and disability related to health behaviours such as poor diet, low physical activity and subsequent obesity. Identifying groups of adults most at risk of these modifiable risk factors for disease and disability, and planning appropriate interventions, will help to inform policy and practice thus ensuring that our health and social care services are prepared for the increased demands of an ageing population.

Selected Publications

Canney, M., Leahy, S., Scarlett, S., Kenny, R.A., Little, M.A., O’Seaghdha, C.M. and McCrory, C. ‘Kidney disease in women is associated with disadvantaged childhood socioeconomic position’, American Journal of Nephrology, 47, 292-299, available:

Peeters, GEEE., Leahy, S., Kennelly, S. and Kenny, R.A. (2018) ‘Is fear of falling associated with decline in global cognitive functioning in older adults: findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing’, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 19(3), 248-254, available:

Leahy, S., O’ Halloran, AM., O’ Leary, N., Healy, M., McCormack, M., Kenny, RA., O’ Connell, J (2015) ‘Prevalence and correlates of diagnosed and undiagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus and pre-diabetes in older adults: Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)’ Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 110, 241-249, available:

Leahy, S., Nolan, A., O’ Connell, J. and Kenny, R.A. Obesity in an ageing society: implications for health, physical function and health service utilisation. Dublin: The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, 2014.

Leahy, S., O' Neill, C., Sohun, R., Toomey, C. and Jakeman, P. (2013) ‘Generalised equations for the prediction of % body fat by anthropometry in adult men and women aged 18-81y’ British Journal of Nutrition, 109:678-85, available: