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Exercise and Physical activity in NCD prevention

Enrollment is Closed

About This Course

Physical activity has wide-ranging health benefits across the lifespan: It promotes healthy development in children and young people, helps to prevent unhealthy mid-life morbidity and is important for healthy ageing. It is estimated that world-wide, over a third of adults and 80% of adolescents are exposed to health risks due to inactivity. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of all deaths worldwide - it is a risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) independent of poor diet, obesity, smoking, and alcohol misuse.

This is an introductory course on the role of physical activity and exercise in chronic disease prevention, using both clinical and population health perspectives. The aim of the course is to increase understanding and skills in physical activity and exercise, and their role in health, especially their role in NCD (Non Communicable Disease) prevention. The course aims to introduce the participants to a wide range of inter-related topics, and covers an introduction to the topic and prevalence of NCDs, followed by the evidence on the role of exercise and physical activity in NCD prevention and management. There are modules on physical activity at the population level and how exercise can be beneficial for specific diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The course also looks at exercise programs in the community and how programs can be evaluated. The course will be concluded with a module on sedentary behaviour in adults and children.

This course is developed as collaboration between:
  • PLANET -
    The PhysicaL Activity NETwork (PLANET) brings together key researchers from eight University of Sydney faculties to develop a knowledge hub, as well as collaborative research and teaching around physical activity.
  • WHO Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity Nutrition and Obesity –
    Thus us one of the very few collaborating centres with a physical activity focus and a global (not regional) remit.
  • Charles Perkins Centre's -
    The Physical Activity Exercise and Energy Expenditure theme

Course Staff


Prof. Adrian Bauman

Adrian Bauman is the Sesquicentenary Professor and Director, Prevention Research Collaboration (PRC) in the School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia.
He leads the faculty-wide theme area on “physical activity and exercise” for the Sydney University Charles Perkins Centre. He is Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity. He has had substantial research interests in chronic disease prevention for over 25 years, with a special emphasis on physical activity and sedentary behaviour research, including epidemiology, measurement and physical activity program evaluation.


Prof. Bill Bellew

Bill Bellew is Adjunct Professor of Public Health, and affiliated with Prevention Research Collaboration (PRC) in the School of Public Health , University of Sydney, Australia. He has extensive experience in working at senior level with and within Government, the Public Sector, academia and organisations at local, state, national level in Australia and internationally. He has had substantial policy and research interests in chronic disease prevention for over 25 years, with a special emphasis on physical activity, sedentary behaviour, obesity, tobacco.


A/Prof. Corinne Caillaud

A/Prof Corinne Caillaud has a wide experience in the field of exercise physiology. She has investigated the response to exercise in various environmental conditions in both young and older people. More recently, her interest has focused on the impact of exercise on metabolism in metabolic disease, particularly in relation with aerobic fitness and various environmental conditions.


Dr. Dafna Merom

A/Professor Dafna Merom has a background in physical education, exercise science and the education disciplines and postgraduate degrees in public health, Merom has applied strong epidemiological skills and research experience to the physical activity/exercise domain. Her research span over several topics including issues in physical activity measurement, physical activity surveillance and measurement using health and non-health surveillance systems, the development and evaluation of intervention trials in specific populations (e.g., mentally ill) and settings (eg., community residents elderly and middle aged adults, schoolchildren, worksites), and in socio-ecologic studies (environmental approaches with or without media enhancement).


Dr. Debra Shirley

Dr Debra Shirley is a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist , fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapists and Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney. Debra’s research involvement includes physical activity promotion in primary care, screening for musculoskeletal injuries, injury prevention and assessment and management of low back and neck dysfunction and regularly presents at national and international conferences. Debra also teaches entry level and post graduate musculoskeletal physiotherapy in the Discipline of Physiotherapy.


Prof. Glen Davis

Glen Davis is Professor of Clinical Exercise Sciences in the Faculty of Exercise Science, and Director of the Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit, University of Sydney, Australia. He is prominent in the area of physical activity for cardiovascular health after chronic disability within the Faculty and University. He has had substantial research interests in physical activity and exercise promotion in individuals with chronic physical disability for over 25 years, with a special emphasis on assistive and surveillance technologies to make exercise more ‘dose-potent’ for the improvement of general health and for functional rehabilitation in individuals with reduced physical capacity.


Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg

Dr Hidde van der Ploeg has a PhD in physical activity promotion in the rehabilitation setting from VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam. Between 2005 and 2012 he was a researcher at the School of Public Health, the University of Sydney. His expertise is in physical activity and sedentary behaviour research and includes measurement, surveillance, epidemiology and lifestyle interventions across clinical, occupational and public health settings. Since 2012 he is back in the Netherlands, while also holding an adjunct position as senior research fellow at the University of Sydney.


Dr. Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist whose research and teaching focuses on understanding the effects of aerobic and resistance exercise on metabolism and metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Dr. Lis Neubeck

Dr Lis Neubeck is a Senior Research Fellow at the George Institute for Global Health and Senior Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on innovative solutions to secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, identification and management of atrial fibrillation, and use of new technologies to improve access to health care. Lis is Vice President of the Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association and is on the board of the Cardiovascular Nursing Council of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.


Dr. Louise Hardy

Dr Louise Hardy is a child obesity epidemiologist specializing in the population monitoring of children’s weight and weight-related behaviours, including physical activity and sedentary behaviours. She has extensive experience in evaluating interventions that target children’s weight-related behaviours.


Prof. Maria A. Fiatarone Singh

Professor Maria A. Fiatarone Singh, MD, FRACP is a geriatrician whose research, clinical, and teaching career has focused on the integration of medicine, exercise physiology, and nutrition as a means to improve quality of life across the lifespan. She is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine in the USA. She is currently the John Sutton Chair of Exercise and Sport Science at the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Professor, Sydney Medical School, USYD.


Dr. Martin Mackey

Dr Martin Mackey is Course Director of the undergraduate program in the Discipline of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney with special responsibility for the occupational health curriculum.
Dr Mackey’s research is focussed on injury prevention and the promotion of workplace-based physical activity, work ability and wellbeing in the context of an ageing and increasing sedentary working population.


Dr. Philayrath Phongsavan

Philayrath is Senior Lecturer in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, at the School of Public Health, the University of Sydney. She is experienced in pragmatic but methodologically rigorous evaluation of large-scale, real-world health promotion programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to buy a textbook?

No, but each lecture suggests a number of readings to help reinforce what is discussed and further your understanding of each module.

Question #2

Your answer would be displayed here.

  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

    Feb 01, 2016
  3. Classes End

    Jun 10, 2016