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Addressing the challenges of promoting youth physical activity

Associate Professor Nicola Ridgers, Institution: Deakin University

2017 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2018-2021


Moving more and sitting less are critical for cardiovascular health from a young age and important for future heart health later in life. However, many Australian youth do not do enough physical activity and spend too much time sitting.

Interventions are needed to change these behaviours, yet progress remains frustratingly elusive. A greater understanding how youth accumulate their physical activity and sedentary time, and the impact of these patterns of activity accumulation on cardio-metabolic risk factors, is needed to inform future intervention efforts.

This project will generate new knowledge about how youth accumulate their sedentary time and physical activity, and how patterns of activity accumulation impact on cardiometabolic risk factors.

Specifically, it will:
  1. Standardise methods for assessing activity patterns.
  2. Explore associations between activity patterns and cardio-metabolic risk factors.
  3. Examine the impact of physical activity promotion strategies on youth activity patterns.
  4. Examine the effect of changing activity patterns on cardio-metabolic risk factors.

This project will inform the design, development, and evaluation of interventions through establishing which activity patterns may be beneficial for health, which activity patterns may be easier (or more resistant) to change in an intervention, and whether changes in activity patterns are important for cardio-metabolic risk factors.

These findings are key for public health recommendations, policy and practice about how youth should accumulate activity across the day to benefit health.

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