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Food and Movement Research

Our Research

This research group is one of the four themes within Early Start, bringing together a cross-disciplinary team from Health and Society and Education. The overall aim of this group is to consolidate excellence in childhood nutrition and physical activity research (in the birth to 10 years age group). Our research focuses on wellness, early intervention, and population-level approaches to healthy eating and movement behaviours.

The objectives of this group are:

  • to make a significant contribution to the Early Start ‘engagement frontier’ of Play-Based Research by undertaking novel research in the Discovery Space on nutrition and physical activity promotion
  • to contribute to the creation of engaging Discovery Space exhibits/programs, which embed healthy eating and movement behaviours in play-based experiences
  • to support the group’s ECRs/HDRs, through mentoring from senior members
  • to boost the research output of the group
  • to develop impact statements for our research theme
  • to increase the international reputation of Early Start as a place to undertake public health nutrition and physical activity research
  • to contribute to UOW teaching curricula by communicating our research back to Faculty staff and offering student placements

PhD Scholarship Opportunity

Sit, sleep, play, repeat? An international database to understand movement behaviours in early childhood – the Sleep and Activity Database for the Early Years (SADEY)

Learn more


Yazeed Alanazi - Cross-sectional and prospective associations between 24-hour movement behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep) and health among children in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Nyamragchaa Chimedtseren - Food labelling policy and consumer perspectives

Kar Chong - 24-hour movement behaviours across the primary-secondary school transition: Associations with physical and psychosocial health in preadolescent children

Ruth Crowe - Observing the healthy eating and physical activity environments within after school programs in NSW Australia

Linda Elbayeh - Translational research of physical activity and nutrition in children 

Emma Gorman - An exploratory study of teachers’ enactment of food and nutrition education in Australian primary schools 

Lyndel Hewitt - Understanding and Promoting Gross Motor Skills in Young Children

Katharina Kariippanon - Investigating the Impact of the Spatial Environment on Adolescents - Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Cognition within the High School Environment

Kalina Kazmierska-Kowalewska - Examining the MOVERS and professional development program: how valid is the rating scale and a professional development intervention to improve child development

Byron Kemp - 'Having Fun Like We Used To': Exploring Social Norms about Physical Activity Choices from Childhood to Adulthood

Erin Kerr - Healthy eating and active play in Family Day Care services

Joao Rodrigues Pereira - Measurement, Levels, Patterns and Correlates of Sedentary Behaviour in Toddlers and Pre-schoolers.

Sarah Ryan - Social Marketing Campaign to Promote Physical Activity to children living in the South Pacific Islands.

Rachel Smith - Examine the potential impact of discretionary food and drink marketing on children’s brand associations and attachments and the mechanisms underpinning the relationship at the implicit and explicit levels

Karen Tonge - The relationship between educator engagement and interaction and children's physical activity in early childhood education and care services

Sumantla Varman - Promoting healthy eating and physical activity in early childhood: an experiential learning intervention at the Early Start Discovery Space

Andrew Woods - Audit of the healthy eating and active living (HEAL) environments of before school care.

Zhiguang Zhang - Environmental Features, Quality of the Childcare Practices and Adiposity in Toddlers


Play-Based Research

A major area for collective action for our group is linked to the Early Start Engagement Frontier of Play-Based Research. The UOW Discovery Space provides an ideal forum for the testing and delivery of novel child healthy eating and movement interventions. These interventions will draw on our group’s current research and programs in other settings for translation into the Discovery Space. Outcomes from these interventions will have broader relevance to other settings where children gather, including early childhood education and care and schools.