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, using observational and intervention studies.
Although I have worked with different population groups (e.g. mothers with young children, working men, people living in age care, most of my research has focussed on women. Drawing on data from large cohort studies, we strive to understand how behaviours and weight change across the adult life span, 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, which can be targeted to specific population groups, or whole communities, with the aim of changing behaviours and improving health outcomes.
Ideally, I like to see the results of intervention studies replicated and ‘upscaled’ for wider population reach, but sustained improvements in physical activity and weight at the population level are rare. Our recent data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health suggest that many young adult women are losing the battle against weight gain and the development of chronic diseases.
I am an elected International Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American College of Kinesiology, and the Australian Sports Medicine Federation.