Researchers active to reduce sedentary behaviour among children

Director of IERI, Associate Professor Tony Okely, has won the National Heart Foundation Career Development Fellowship for the next four years (amount awarded $462,568) to undertake research to better understand how to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in young people.

Through more accurate measurements of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, this research will identify factors influencing participation in these behaviours and design, implement and evaluate innovative interventions to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in young people.

“This is vitally important to the ongoing health of our young people,” Professor Okely said.

Dr Dylan Cliff has won a National Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for the next two years (amount awarded $157 016). Dr Cliff’s research project is Measurement, patterns, and determinants of sedentary behaviour among children.

With this fellowship, Dr Cliff will provide greater understanding of children’s sedentary behaviour by improving measurement techniques, investigating the patterns and demographic distribution of this behaviour, and by examining the social and physical factors that influence children’s sedentary behaviour.

It will help to inform the development of strategies and public health messages designed to reduce children’s sedentary behaviour, in order to enhance children’s heath and prevent the early development of cardiovascular risk factors.

Dr Cliff and Professor Okely will also head a team of international researchers from the UK and Australia including fellow IERI members, Dr Rachel Jones and Dr Trina Hinkley, who have won a National Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid (amount awarded $130,000) for the project Accuracy of physical activity monitors in children. This project will compare the accuracy of several activity monitors for assessing physical activity, sedentary behaviour and energy expenditure among children aged six to 12 years. It will also investigate the usefulness of these monitors over time.

Professor Okely said the research has the potential to improve all aspects of physical activity and sedentary behaviour research in children, and provide a sound basis for research, public health, and clinical practice in the future.

For further information about these research projects or about the Interdisciplinary Educational Research Institute contact Associate Professor Tony Okely (4221 4641) or Dr Dylan Cliff (4221 5929).