Prof Chris Oliver

Professor Chris Oliver is Honorary Professor of Physical Activity for Health at the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC), University of Edinburgh.

Current Appointments

Past Appointments

Research & Media


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200 cyclists killed or injured by city trams in Edinburgh. Herald Scotland. 30th Jan 2018

Nearly 200 cyclists ‘hurt in Edinburgh tram line crashes’. STV News. 30th Jan 2018

Cyclists’ Tram Injuries put ‘burden’ on health service.  Edinburgh Evening News/Scotsman.  30th Jan 2018

Breastfeeding app and GPs’ real time analytics platform share hackathon win.  FutureScot Blog. 30 Jan 2018

Hackathon tackles childhood obesity, substance abuse, and mental health. FutureScot Blog.  27 Jan 2018

I lost 15 stone to save my life but could’ nt save my job.  Sunday Post.  14th Jan 2018. p 20.

An expression of the community brought together by music. East Fife Mail.  10th Jan 2018

The thriving music scene in the East Neuk of Fife  BBC Radio Scotland, Janice Forsyth Show with live music. iPlayer 4th Jan 2018

Cycling in Chile: against all odds. Saddle Skedaddle Blog 17th December 2017

Scotland’s Health is not improving.  Commenting on Audit Scotland Report 2017 on NHS Scotland.  BBC Radio Scotland News.
BBC Reporting Scotland Evening News iPlayer at 03:17 26th Oct 2017

Cyclists risk nerve damage from uneven street surfaces Various Media Scotsman on Sunday, Edinburgh Evening News,, Cycling Weekly. 8th Oct 2017

Cosmetic red cycle lanes for Edinburgh tramlines to help protect cyclists. BBC Reporting Scotland Evening News . 29th Sept 2017

In the frame: Bespoke Bikes Brummell Magazine 27th Sept 2017

Pilates has a role in Health Promotion1st International Pilates Gathering.  Plenary speaker. Royal College Surgeons of Edinburgh. 23rd Sept 2017

Implementing Policy for Physical Activity and the International Futures Forum – Scottish Collaboration Public Health and  Research Policy (SCPHRP) summer blog 12 Sept  2017

The Road to Fitness – Surgeons News.  eZine. Royal College Surgeons Edinburgh. September 2017 page 34-35

Smoking in Scotland within 15 meters of hospital buildings to be a crime. BBC Radio Scotland Kaye Adams Programme 15th August 2007

Statins warning:: Heart medicine pills ‘do more harm than good’ Daily Express  14th July 2017

Edinburgh Tram tracks must be moved to protect cyclists claims surgeon. Scotsman/Edinburgh Evening News 16th June 2017

Edinburgh Cyclists’ Tram Injuries, Lecture at Edinburgh Festival of Cycling 12th June 2017

Edinburgh Cyclist Tram Fatality Scotsman, BBC,  STV, Herald. TransportXtra 1st June 2017

Rocket Pitch: A more active Lothian. NHS Lothian Health Board Development session. Presenter. 17th May 2017

FutureHealth meeting with Chief Medical Officer for Scotland to showcase and plan future of Future Health Product Forge Health Innovation Hackathon . Meeting Chairman. 4th May 2017

Edinburgh Close Pass Trial, making cycling safer? BBC Radio Scotland John Beattie Show. April 24th 2017

UkActive Promising Practice Physical Activity Roadshow. Oriam Edinburgh. Speaker; Promising Physical Activity Projects in Scotland. Storify April 3rd 2017

Edinburgh tram track injuries cost NHS more than £1m. BBC Radio Scotland & News. Scotsman. The Times. March 17th 2017

Cycling to physical activity – from couch potato consultant to endurance athlete. Guest Lecture invited by Obesity Action Campaign. St Thomas’s Hospital London. 10th March 2017

Prof Chris Oliver opens David Dunn outdoor fitness trail in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian. Midlothian View  5th March 2017

Scandi Health Lessons – Living the Swede Life. Daily Mail. 12th February 2017

Doctors warning on health crisis – We’re too obese. And too late to do anything about it. Sunday Mail. 5th February 2017

Time to get tough to tackle obesity. BBC Radio Scotland Call Kaye Programme. January  24th 2017

Physical activity in children and young people, is too much exercise dangerous? BBC Radio Scotland Stephen Jardine Programme  6th January 2017

The Medal Myth – Scotland Investigates BBC One Scotland 2nd January 2017

Retirement of Sir Bradley Wiggins from cycling BBC Radio London Niki Bedi Programme 29 Dec 2016

Should cyclists wear headphones? BBC Radio London, Eddie Nestor Drivetime Programme. 7 Dec 2016

Cycling Injuries and Fractures BBC Radio Scotland. Stephen Jardine Programme. 25 Nov 2016

Big Fat Fix. Edinburgh Film Premiere with Dr Aseem Malhotra. Hosted by University of Edinburgh Medical School. Chairman 20 October 2016

Cycling and the Law. Cycle Law. Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Chairman. 23 Aug 2016

Top doctor issues warning as intrepid fundraisers put burden on NHS. Sunday Post. 15 Aug 2016

Cycling and Health. Spokes, The Lothian Cycle Campaign. Public Debate, Edinburgh. 13 Jun 2016 Storify review

Gastric Band Surgery: a too easy fix? BBC Radio Scotland Call Kaye. 31 May 2016

Car Sick, BBC Scotland Investigates, BBC One Scotland. January 2016.

Weight Loss Surgery, The Kaye Adams Programme, BBC Radio Scotland. December 2015

The Day I Changed My Life, BBC Radio Scotland. July 2013

Cyclists to sue Edinburgh over tramline accidents, The Scotsman. January 2015

Can Bike Riding Up Prostate Risk?, HealthDay (syndicated). July 2014

Amazing Loser – Chris Oliver, Man v Fat. October 2014

On yer bike! Get involved at the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, STV News. June 2014

Jon Snow, CTC President and newscaster, chairs Cycling Scotland Conference, CTC. September 2013

From Los Angeles to Boston: an epic ride across the United States, The Guardian. July 2013

The Adventure Show, BBC Two Scotland. April 2013

Inspirational Journeys: A Bike Ride Across America, Virgin Atlantic. August 2013

Compulsory bike helmets on charity rides is the ‘thin end of the wedge’, The Guardian. March 2013

Cycle helmet laws should be backed by evidence, STV News. 2013

Surgeons in Scotland debate the helmet issue – do they increase cyclists’ safety or not?, February 2013

Driver who killed two cyclists avoids life ban and jail term, The Times. September 2013

The ‘Cycling Surgeon’ and his daughter cross the US for WaterAid, CTC. June 2013

Cycling surgeon ready for slice of American pie, The Scotsman. April 2013

What would be a fitting legacy of Chris Hoy’s Olympic success?, STV News. 2012

Wiggins effect is boost to cycling in Scotland, The Herald. July 2012

Pedal on Parliament, Newsnight Scotland, BBC Two Scotland. June 2012

Tipping the scales: Edinburgh surgeon fights off ‘super-obesity’, The Scotsman. April 2011

All of Scotland’s rivers at once: kayaking the Sun Kosi, Caledonian Mercury. 2010

Time to get tougher on obesity?, BBC News. September 2009

Banding is not the easiest fix, Daily Express. June 2008


Professor Chris Oliver

BSc (Hons), MB. BS, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Tr and Orth), FRCS (Ed), FRCP (Ed), DMI RCSEd, FFSTEd, DM, FRSA

Chris Oliver was born (05/01/1960) in Forest Gate, East London to Dennis William Oliver and Gladys Eva Gill. Oliver firstly attended Gobions Junior School in Romford, followed by Romford County Technical High School. He graduated from University College Hospital Medical School, now part of University College London, with a MBBS degree in 1985 along with an intercalated BSc in Physiology in 1981.

In 1985, Oliver married Josephine Hilton. They have two children. He is an avid endurance cyclist and white-water kayaker. In 2013 he cycled 3415 miles from Los Angeles to Boston, USA with his younger daughter.

After house jobs in Cuckfield Hospital, Sussex and Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow he then prosected anatomy at University College London (1986). He completed FRCS(Eng.) in 1989. Basic surgical training at Northwick Park Hospital before pursuing a career in Neurosurgery at The National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London. Not liking neurosurgery, he pursued orthopaedics and trauma surgery as a registrar in Yorkshire and then senior registrar at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry. He completed a doctorate (MD) from University College London in spinal muscle physiology and artificial intelligence (1992). He then completed his orthopaedic and trauma training with specialist fellowships in trauma orthopaedic surgery at Harborview Medical Centre, Seattle and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. In Oxford he worked within the experimental resident on-call 24-hour-a-day trauma service. In 1997 he moved to Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh as a Consultant Surgeon with special interest in Hand Surgery and part-time senior lecturer to Department of Trauma Orthopaedics, University of Edinburgh. He retired from surgery in Decmber 2017.

He was a member of Council for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) 2002-2012. He was the first director of The RCSEd Faculty of Medical Informatics and led the development of an innovative health informatics Diploma and MSc courses. He developed a global e-Learning website for the AO Foundation with AO Surgery. He was co-convener of all examinations of RCSEd 2006-2008. From 2008-2011 he was the National Chairman of the Intercollegiate Membership Royal College Surgeons (MRCS) examination for the UK and overseas and introduced and stabilised the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) exam. He has led professional surgical exams teams for the Surgical Royal Colleges in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. He was one of the first Fellows of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers RCSEd (2014). He is a Fellow of the British Society Surgery of the Hand. He edited the multi-author Trauma surgery section of Oxford Textbook “Fundamentals of Surgery – Oxford Textbooks in Surgery” published in July 2016. Oliver has an interest in return to sport after injury and clavicle fractures.

In 2015 he became honorary Professor of Physical Activity for Health to Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) at the University of Edinburgh. PAHRC is a research centre within the Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences in Moray House School of Education which aims to provide evidence of how to encourage people of all ages to ‘sit less and walk more’. In PAHRC he has led the development of teaching and examination of undergraduate education in physical activity throughout the United Kingdom. He was one of a team that developed the first massive open online course in physical activity and evaluation. A British Journal of Sports Medicine Blog post in April 2016 described Olivers’ first year as Professor Physical Activity for Health. Oliver has an active research interest in infographics and healthcare, one of the papers in this area has a significant Altmetric Score. In October 2016 Oliver gave the Sir Alexander Morison Lecture at Royal College Physicians of Edinburgh. In November 2016 Oliver became a member of the Cross Party Group on Sport and Active Living at The Scottish Parliament. Oliver contributed to the early development of Play on Pedals, getting every preschool child in Glasgow cycling.

In 2017 Oliver was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society Arts FRSA in recognition for his expertise to develop strategies and policies for public health, including physical and active living and the delivery of public health care.

Oliver holds strong views about obesity and physical activity and its importance in society. He believes that effective education is important in combating obesity and inactivity. In 2007 he had a LapBand and lost 12 stone in weight, the band snapped and was removed in late 2016. He has an interest in the study of predicting longevity and active ageing. Oliver is a champion of innovation and is attending International Futures Forum Capability Transformative Innovation Accelerator in 2017.


1994 – Completed a Doctorate of Medicine thesis, University of London entitled “Development of surface electromyographic spectral analysis techniques for assessing paraspinal muscle function.” The thesis objectively quantified muscular fitness using surface electromyographic spectral analysis techniques. Data was analysed by constructing artificial intelligence neural networks.
1995 – AO Trauma Fellowship Seattle, USA insight into a premier USA trauma centre.
1996 – Consultant Trauma Fellowship. The Oxford Trauma Unit, advanced skills in all aspects of trauma management.


2015 – Cycled, Raiasthan, India
2014 – Cycled 1,100 miles St Malo to Nice, France
2013 – Cycled 3,500 miles Los Angeles to Boston, USA
2012 – Expedition Medic. Wilderness Medical Certificate. Glenmore Lodge
2012 – Whitewater kayaking. Bhutan (East), Trashigang.  Doctor
2011 –  Whitewater kayaking. Grand Canyon, Colorado River. Doctor
2010 – Whitewater kayaking. Nepal, Sun Kosi River.  Doctor
2009 – Cycled 1,000 miles Lands End to John O’Groats
2008 – Whitewater kayaking. Bhutan (West), Paro & Thrimpu.  Doctor
1993 – Whitewater kayaking. India. Descent of upper River Ganges.  Doctor
1983 – Whitewater kayaking. British Universities expedition River Zap. Turkey. Doctor & Team Leader
1981 – Whitewater kayaking. British Expedition to British Columbia, Yukon & Alaska. Doctor