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Professor Wendy Brown - Understanding physical activity in women. The significance of time and time-use in a longitudinal study.


In this lecture,  Professor Wendy Brown will draw on selected findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) to describe patterns of physical activity, and determinants and outcomes of physical activity across the adult lifespan. Time will be a recurring theme in this presentation, not only because it is critical to understanding changes in patterns of behaviours, but because it allows for the accumulation of information on health, health service use, and costs, as women age.  Time-use is also critical to understanding how and why physical activity (and associated weight) changes with age. The ALSWH study has data from women in three birth cohorts, who were 18-23, 45-50 and 70-75 years in 1995, and a fourth cohort of women who were also 18-23 years in 2013. 


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My primary research interest is in the behavioural epidemiology of physical activity, sedentary behaviours and weight gain in adults. This research focuses on measuring, understanding and influencing behaviours in adults, and their health sequelae, using observational and intervention studies.

I have conducted intervention studies with many adult population groups, including students, mothers with young children, working men, health care professionals, people living in age care and veterans. However, as I have been integrally involved with the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health since its inception in 1995, much of my research is based on data from this study, and data from other prospective research, including the HABITAT (How Areas in Brisbane Influence healTh and AcTivity) and ARIA Annual Rhythms In Adults’ lifestyle and health) studies.  In these studies, we have tried to understand how behaviours and weight change across the adult lifespan and to understand the determinants of these changes, and the related longer-term health outcomes. Data are used to inform the development of intervention strategies and policies, which can be targeted to specific population groups, or whole communities, with the aim of changing behaviours and improving health outcomes.


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