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Physical Activity

Focused on the primary prevention of chronic diseases, specifically diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

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Professor David Dunstan

Baker Fellow and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

Phone:+61 3 8532 1873

Latest Achievements

Senior Research Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council (2015–2021)

Recognised as a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 — dentifying scientists who have demonstrated significant and broad influence, reflected in the publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade. In 2021 there were 6602 Highly Cited Researchers named in the top 1% of the world’s population of scientists and social scientists.

Highly cited epidemiological research reporting that sedentary behaviour is detrimentally associated with premature mortality and cardio-metabolic biomarkers has informed new guidelines/position stands of the UK Health Department, the American College of Sports Medicine, the Heart Foundation and the Preventative Health Task Force recommendations on the likely importance of reducing sedentary behaviour.

National Heart Foundation Vanguard Grants – top ranked grant in Victoria (2014)

Future Fellowship, Australian Research Council (2011–2014)

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Professor David Dunstan Baker Fellow and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
We strive to contribute unique insights relevant to public health policy.

 

About the Physical Activity laboratory 

The Physical Activity laboratory is concerned with the primary prevention of chronic diseases, specifically diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Our research deals with:

  • The health consequences of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviours
  • The measurement and analysis of environmental, social and personal-level determinants of behavioral risk factors (e.g. television viewing, desk- and screen-bound work) and lack of physical activity.

The goal of our program is to contribute unique insights relevant to public health policy. We aim to identify environmental and social innovations that can increase physical activity and reduce sitting time.

The laboratory is building comprehensive scientific links between epidemiological evidence; clinical/experimental investigations; behavioural intervention trials on changing sitting time in real-world settings; and large-scale population studies of environment/behaviour relationships in key target settings such as workplaces and more recently, schools. This integration aims to provide much-needed evidence to inform new policy directions in public health in order to reduce Australia's disease burden from excessive sedentary time and physical inactivity.

Why focus on sitting time?

The ultimate goal of our program is to contribute unique insights relevant to public health policy. We aim to identify environmental and social innovations that can increase physical activity and reduce sitting time.

We build comprehensive scientific links between epidemiological evidence; clinical/experimental investigations; behavioural intervention trials on changing sitting time in real-world settings; and large-scale population studies of environment/behaviour relationships in key target settings such as workplaces and more recently, schools.

This integration aims to provide much-needed evidence to inform new policy directions in public health to reduce Australia's disease burden from excessive sedentary time and physical inactivity.

Research focus

The program of studies on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health conducted by the Physical Activity laboratory includes:

  • Cross-sectional and prospective epidemiologic observational studies.
  • Measurement development studies using state-of-the-art accelerometer and inclinometer devices.
  • Studies on the multiple levels of influence on physical activity and sedentary behaviour, focused on understanding environmental determinants.
  • Field-based intervention trials on the feasibility and outcomes of changing physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
  • The ongoing refinement of conceptual models to integrate the evidence and explain multiple levels of influence on physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
  • Addressing research-translation implications.
  • Informing clinical practice and public health policy.

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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