Author Archive: Travis

Travis Saunders has a PhD in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on the relationship between sedentary time (e.g. sitting) and chronic disease risk in both children and adults. He is also a Certified Exercise Physiologist and competitive distance runner.

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New textbook on sedentary behaviour and health

| May 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

Human Kinetics has published a textbook titled Sedentary Behaviour and Health, edited by Drs Weimo Zhu and  Neville Owen.  From the Human Kinetics website:

From office jobs and long commutes to passive entertainment like television and video games, humans are sitting more than ever. Though lack of exercise has major health consequences, researchers are now examining the additional and widespread health risk of the simple act of sitting for extended periods. With research from leading scientists, Sedentary Behavior and Health: Concepts, Assessments, and Interventions presents evidence on sedentary behavior, its apparent health risks, and suggestions on measuring and altering this behavior.

Editors Weimo Zhu and Neville Owen have assembled a highly respected team of international contributors. Together, they provide an interdisciplinary review of current research, examining scientific, public health, and broader social questions about the implications of sedentary behavior. These topics include humans’ physiological predispositions, exacerbation of current health conditions like obesity and diabetes, and the design and ergonomics of offices and chairs.

To examine the many facets of this developing area of study, Sedentary Behavior and Health is divided into five parts:

  • “Sedentary Behavior Concepts and Context” reviews the physiology of sedentary behavior, investigating current habits from the perspectives of evolution, industrial engineering, and design.
  • “Sedentary Behavior and Health” explores the relationship between sedentary behavior and several major chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and low-back pain.
  • “Measuring and Analyzing Sedentary Behavior” explains research methods for understanding and measuring sedentary behavior in order to recognize patterns and design interventions.
  • “Sedentary Behavior and Subpopulations” covers issues, risks, and behaviors in groups such as children, working adults, older adults, and minorities.
  • “Changing Sedentary Behavior” provides methods and recommendations for improvement with environmental, social, community, worksite, and technology-based interventions.

Included in this groundbreaking text are learning objectives, key concepts, and study questions to focus attention on key issues and reinforce concepts. Reviews of the literature in the field are presented, many with comparisons in table form, to provide the full scope of research. Sidebars throughout the text apply theoretical concepts to real-world scenarios.

Inactivity is mismatched with many aspects of humans’ genetic makeup. While it is becoming the new norm, the consequences of this behavior are emerging as a public health threat. Sedentary Behavior and Health will serve as a key reference for the rapidly emerging research area of sedentary behavior.

Full table of contents are available via the book website.

Funded Post Doc and MHSc opportunity at University of Ontario Institute of Technology

| April 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

From the UOIT (Please contact Dr. Shilpa Dogra for further details):

Applications are invited for a Post-doctoral Fellow position in the Health and Human Performance Laboratory run by Dr. Shilpa Dogra, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The position is for 10 to 12 months. The project involves analysis of data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging and will include training in isotemporal substitution analysis. Travel to a national conference is included.

The ideal candidate will have a PhD in Epidemiology, preferably with a focus on physical activity, and should have extensive experience analyzing large databases. Applications should include a cover letter, CV, and the names and contact information of two academic references.

Application deadline: Friday, April 14

Tentative start date: Monday, May 1

Please contact Dr. Shilpa Dogra for further details.


Applications are invited for a graduate student position (at the masters level) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Nick Wattie, Assistant Professor and Dr. Shilpa Dogra, Assistant Professor. The project involves designing and developing an evidence-based application on physical activity targeting children/youth; the application will be developed in alignment with Ontario’s education curriculum.

The ideal candidate with have an undergraduate degree in either Kinesiology and/or Education. Applicants must meet the criteria set by the Faculty of Health Sciences and Graduate Studies at UOIT.

Applicants should contact Dr. Wattie or Dr. Dogra with a CV, a writing sample, and a copy of unofficial transcripts by Thursday, April 20.

Application deadline: Monday, May 1

Start date: Fall 2017

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years: Please Complete This Brief Survey

| March 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

As a childcare provider, practitioner or researcher whose work is in some way connected with physical activity, sedentary time and/or sleep, you are being invited to participate in a survey soliciting your opinion on a draft of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep (herein referred to as the 24-Hour Guidelines). Please note that this is different from the survey you may have received last year in relation to new guidelines for children and youth.

With leadership from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, a group of Canadian and International research and practice experts in physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep, and health promotion met to develop the 24-Hour Guidelines. After reviewing and consolidating the evidence, the experts have produced an initial version of the 24-Hour Guidelines.

One of the final stages in the development of the 24-Hour Guidelines is to gain feedback about the clarity of the guidelines, as well as level of agreement, perceived importance, applicability, feasibility, resource implications, and equity. Acceptance and dissemination of the 24-Hour Guidelines is important for the alignment of strategic efforts in policy, practice, and research aimed at promoting health for Canadian infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Participation in this survey is voluntary. By accessing and completing this survey you are giving your implied/passive consent to participate in the survey.  Your responses will not be linked to your name or email address and responses will be presented in group format only. If you have any questions about this study, please contact Dr. Mark Tremblay at 613-737-7600 ext. 4114 or The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Ethics Board (REB) has reviewed this protocol. The REB considers ethical aspects of all research studies involving human participants at the CHEO and its Research Institute. If you have any questions about your rights as a study participant, you may contact the CHEO REB Chairperson at 613-737-7600 ext. 3624. 

Note: The “Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years” are in draft form and are not intended for general circulation.

Please click on the link below for more information on the survey and instructions on how to get started.

Thanks for your time!
We encourage you to circulate the survey link to your colleagues and among your networks. This stakeholder survey will be open until midnight EST on April 9. 



En tant qu’intervenant en petite enfance, chercheur ou acteur qui œuvre d’une façon ou d’une autre dans un domaine relié à l’activité physique, à la sédentarité et/ou au sommeil, vous êtes invités à remplir un sondage pour nous faire connaître votre opinion au sujet de la version préliminaire des Directives canadiennes en matière de mouvement sur 24 heures pour la petite enfance : une approche intégrée regroupant l’activité physique, le comportement sédentaire et le sommeil (Directives 24 heures dans le présent texte). Veuillez noter que ce sondage est différent de celui que vous avez peut-être reçu l’année dernière au sujet de nouvelles directives pour les enfants et les adolescents.

Grâce au leadership de la Société canadienne de physiologie de l’exercice, un groupe d’experts canadiens et internationaux de la recherche et de la pratique sur l’activité physique, le comportement sédentaire, le sommeil et la promotion de la santé a développé ces Directives 24 heures. Après avoir révisé et regroupé les évidences, les experts en ont produit une version préliminaire.

L’une des étapes finales du développement de ces Directives 24 heures est de recevoir des commentaires au sujet de la clarté, du niveau d’accord, de l’importance perçue, de l’applicabilité, de la faisabilité, de l’équité et des implications en termes de ressources. L’accueil favorable et la diffusion des Directives 24 heures sont importants pour coordonner les efforts stratégiques pour la création de politiques, la pratique et la recherche ayant pour but la promotion de la santé des nourrissons, des tout-petits et des enfants d’âge préscolaire canadiens.

La participation à ce sondage est volontaire. En accédant à ce sondage et en le remplissant, vous donnez votre consentement implicite/passif à y participer. Nous ne vous demanderons pas votre nom ni votre adresse courriel et les réponses ne seront présentées que sous une forme regroupée. Veuillez communiquer avec Mark Tremblay au 613 737-7600, poste 4114, ou au pour toute question au sujet de cette étude. Le comité d’éthique de la recherche (CER) du CHEO a révisé et approuvé ce protocole. Le CER étudie les aspects éthiques de toute recherche qui implique les sujets humains au CHEO et à son Institut de recherche. Si vous avez des questions au sujet de vos droits en tant que participant à l’étude, veuillez communiquer avec le président du CER du CHEO au 613 737-7600, poste 3624.

Note : Ces Directives canadiennes en matière de mouvement sur 24 heures pour la petite enfance sont présentées en version préliminaire et ne doivent pas être distribuées.

Veuillez cliquer sur le lien plus bas pour obtenir plus de renseignements sur le sondage et les instructions pour commencer.

Merci pour votre temps!
Nous vous encourageons à faire circuler le lien de ce sondage à vos collègues et à travers vos réseaux. Le sondage sera ouvert jusqu’au 9 Avril.

PhD Opportunity

| March 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

A PhD opportunity is available at Glasgow Caledonian University.  The general description is below.  For more details, please fill out the contact details here.

Project Description

Glasgow Caledonian University and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland present an exciting PhD opportunity to work at the cutting edge of public health science, developing new statistical techniques and applying them to large datasets addressing a global health issue.

Lifestyle behaviours throughout the day and physical activity have a significant impact on health and healthy ageing. Public health and clinical interventions seek to modify these behaviours to prevent and manage chronic disease and promote healthy independent ageing. As time is limited throughout the day, time spent in each behaviour necessarily impacts time spent in the others. Nowadays it is possible to record high volumes of high-precision continuous behavioural data thanks to modern body worn sensor and mobile health technologies. However, one key issue is dealing with them consistently and using them to understand the dynamics of the interplay between behaviours and how it can affect the effectiveness of interventions. Current conceptual and analytical approaches in physical activity epidemiology essentially consider lifestyle behaviours as isolated actions, ignoring the interplay between them and the intrinsic multivariate relative nature of the data generated. The introduction of compositional analysis for relative data in physical activity research was recently pioneered by a collaboration between GCU and BioSS as a major paradigm shift and progress.

This PhD project will focus on developing, implementing and applying compositional methodology for the analysis of longitudinal and randomised control trials to inform public health interventions targeting lifestyle behaviour synergistically. The first year will focus on familiarisation with the technical fundamentals, the application field and the development of models and methods. In the second year these methods will be implemented, put to the test, contrasted and refined using real data to study the life course determinants and the effects on health and healthy ageing of the dynamics of physical activity behaviours. The third year will be devoted to complete scientific publications, elaborate guidance to inform intervention and public health policy about the most effective ways to gain health benefits when targeting multiple lifestyle behaviour synergistically and thesis writing.

Specific requirements of the project:
– Degree or Master in a quantitative discipline (statistics, mathematics or related are preferable).
– Demonstrable training in multivariate data analysis and models for longitudinal data would be advantageous. Familiarity with compositional data analysis methods would be valuable.
– Previous experience with at least one programming language and statistical programming experience using R would be desirable.
– Experience in research would be desirable.
– Experience in dealing with health and physical activity data would be desirable.
– Keen interest in developing a research career in the interface between quantitative sciences and scientific applications, and acquiring widely transferable skills.
– Interest and ability to work in a multidisciplinary team.

Funding Notes

The studentship of £19,100 per year is for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress. The studentship covers the payment of tuition fees (currently £4,300 for UK/EU students or £15,000 for International students) plus an annual stipend of £14,800 for UK/EU students or an annual scholarship of £4,100 for International students.

Helping older adults become more active: the SITLESS study

| October 11, 2016 | 1 Comment

Today’s post comes from Dr Mark Tully, and describes the SITLESS study.  You can find more about the study at

The SITLESS study is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project being conducted in collaboration between seven institutions based in Europe, including; Fundacio Salut I Envelliment / FSIE (Spain), Blanquerna Foundation (Spain), University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), Queen’s University Belfast (UK), Ulm University (Germany), University of Glasgow (UK) and Siel Bleu (France). The primary aim of the SITless study is to assess the long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness (18 ­month follow-up) of a complex behavioural intervention on sedentary behaviour and physical activity in an inactive, community dwelling, older adult population based on existing exercise referral schemes (ERS) enhanced by self-management strategies (SMS).

Individuals aged 65 years and over who live in community settings, who are able to walk independently with or without an aid, who have a low physical activity level (insufficiently active to meet the current physical activity guidelines), who do not have uncontrolled disease and who are otherwise deemed suitable to take part in the exercise referral scheme by their healthcare professional will be recruited.

The study will include four assessment periods at baseline, post-intervention, 12-months and 18-months post-intervention. Participants will complete a variety of questionnaires and simple tests to assess their ability to complete certain everyday activities such as balancing, sit-to-stand and walking ability. Participants will also wear an ActiGraph activity monitor for seven days to measure their daily activity levels.

Participants will be randomised to either:

  • ERS+SMS group: An exercise programme combined with seven additional sessions lasting up to 17 weeks in total as well as four telephone calls. These will mainly be group-based sessions to help support individuals to sit less and be more active.
  • ERS group: Same intervention as above without receiving any additional sessions lasting for up to 16 weeks.
  • Control group: Receive general healthy lifestyle advice for older adults.

The study is starting to recruit participants in October 2016. If you would like to receive more information about the study, please visit the following websites: and

American Heart Association Releases Science Advisory on Sedentary Behaviour

| September 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

The American Heart Association has released a Science Advisory on Sedentary Behaviour and health.  The abstract is available below.  The full paper is available here.

Epidemiological evidence is accumulating that indicates greater time spent in sedentary behavior is associated with all-cause and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in adults such that some countries have disseminated broad guidelines that recommend minimizing sedentary behaviors. Research examining the possible deleterious consequences of excess sedentary behavior is rapidly evolving, with the epidemiology-based literature ahead of potential biological mechanisms that might explain the observed associations. This American Heart Association science advisory reviews the current evidence on sedentary behavior in terms of assessment methods, population prevalence, determinants, associations with cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality, potential underlying mechanisms, and interventions. Recommendations for future research on this emerging cardiovascular health topic are included. Further evidence is required to better inform public health interventions and future quantitative guidelines on sedentary behavior and cardiovascular health outcomes.

Colloquium on sedentary behaviour in Paris

| September 7, 2016 | 0 Comments

The French National Observatory of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour (ONAPS) will be hosting a colloquium on sedentary behaviour in Paris on October 12, 2016.  Speakers include Drs Angelo Tremblay and David Thivel, as well as many others.  Full details on the colloquium can be found on the ONAPS website.

Systematic Review of Childhood Sedentary Behavior Questionnaires: What do We Know and What is Next?

| September 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

A new systematic review in Sports Medicine has been published on sedentary behaviour questionnaires for children. A brief author summary is found below. A full copy of the paper is available for free via the journal Sports Medicine.

This systematic review provides a summary of studies examining the measurement properties of self-report or proxy-report questionnaires assessing sedentary behavior in children and adolescents. In addition, an overview of the characteristics of the included questionnaires is provided. We performed systematic searches in three online databases: PubMed, EMBASE and SPORTDiscus. Studies had to report on at least one of the measurement properties of a self- or proxy-report questionnaire assessing sedentary behavior in a general population under the age of 18 years. Eventually, our searches resulted in 46 relevant studies on 46 questionnaires. Unfortunately, none of the included questionnaires was considered both valid and reliable, due to the lack of attention for content validity and methodological limitations of the included studies. Therefore, we recommend researchers to adopt standardized tools for the evaluation of measurement properties to improve the methodological quality of future studies and we emphasize the importance of assessing content validity.


Funded PhD Opportunity in Perth, Australia

| August 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

The below job posting is from Professor Leon Straker in Perth, Australia.  For more information, please contact Professor Straker directly.

LL-Today (Live Lighter Tailored Online Diet and Activity Study) PhD Opportunity

Interested in doing a high quality PhD that will make a difference to people’s health?

LL-Today is a randomised and controlled trial (n=600) evaluating the efficacy of computer-tailored feedback to change overweight adults’ diet and physical activity. This Healthway funded 3 year project is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between physical activity and nutrition researchers, technology experts and health promotion and translation practitioners drawn from universities, and Western Australian Cancer Council, Heart Foundation and Department of Health in Western Australia.

The successful physical activity doctoral candidate would be involved in formative work to refine the physical activity intervention including the choice of fitness tracker and messaging based on current theory, knowledge and technology, conducting the accelerometer-based sedentary time and physical activity assessments and, analysis and reporting on physical activity outcomes.

This is a full time only doctoral opportunity in Perth, Western Australia. A stipend of $32,500 per annum tax-free for 3 years will be provided.

The successful applicant is likely to have an Honours or Masters degree highly relevant to physical activity, an outstanding record of undergraduate achievement and publication experience and be eligible for an APA scholarship.

Expressions of interest including a curriculum vitae are due Friday 16th September 2016. For further details please contact Professor Leon Straker,

Canada releases world’s first 24-hour movement behaviour guidelines

| June 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

On June 26 Canada released the Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth.  These guidelines call for at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, no more than two hours a day of recreational screen time, limited sitting for extended periods and at least 9-11 hours of sleep per night for children 5-13 years, and 8-10 hours for those aged 14-17 years. They were developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the Conference Board of Canada, HALO-CHEO, ParticipACTION and the Public Health Agency of Canada, with input from research experts and stakeholders across Canada and around the world.

The process was informed by 9 peer-reviewed publications, all available for free via the journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.

Three papers of particular relevance to sedentary behaviour:

Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youth: an update

Combinations of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep: relationships with health indicators in school-aged children and youth

Associations between sleep duration, sedentary time, physical activity, and health indicators among Canadian children and youth using compositional analyses

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep 

More details on the guidelines can be found via the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and ParticipACTION.