Priority Research Centre for

Physical Activity and Population Health

The promotion of physical activity across the population is imperative for the reduction of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses, along with the improvements in mental health.

The research takes a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding physical activity and population health with particular emphasis on education and health promotion strategies for chronic disease prevention, treatment and well being.

The World Health Organisation highlights physical inactivity as a serious global health issue largely caused by changes in living and working patterns within both developed and developing countries.

Current Research Programs


ecofit is an evidence-based program to increase physical activity levels through the use of local parks and facilities. it includes the use of a smart phone app, a group training session and a health check.

SMART Health - Support, Motiviation and Physical Activity Research for Teacher's Health. Hunter teachers are the focus of this study targetting diabetes and mental health.

Refresh - a refreshing way to get more activity and better sleep. As a third of Australian adults only dream of getting a good night’s rest, University of Newcastle researchers are conducting a nationwide clinical trial designed to improve sleep quality amongst those aged 40-65.

Move, Eat, Sleep - can a good night's sleep be the secret to diabetes prevention? This project is hoping to unlock whether sleep is the missing link in long-term, healthy weight loss.

Selected Publications


Article has an altmetric score of 13

Murawski B, Plotnikoff RC, Rayward AT, Oldmeadow C, Vandelanotte C, Brown WJ, Duncan M,  'Efficacy of an m-health physical activity and sleep health intervention for adults: a randomized waitlist-controlled trial.', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, 57 (2019) DOI 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.05.009

Article has an altmetric score of 50

Murawski B, Wade L, Plotnikoff RC, Lubans DR, Duncan MJ,  'A systematic review and meta-analysis of cognitive and behavioral interventions to improve sleep health in adults without sleep disorders', Sleep Medicine Reviews, 40 160-169 (2018) DOI 10.1016/j.smrv.2017.12.003

Article has an altmetric score of 23

Plotnikoff RC, Wilczynska M, Cohen KE, Smith JJ, Lubans DR, 'Integrating smartphone technology, social support and the outdoor physical environment to improve fitness among adults at risk of, or diagnosed with, Type 2 Diabetes: Findings from the randomized controlled trial', Preventive Medicine, 105 404-411 (2017) [C1] DOI 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.08.027

Article has an altmetric score of 22

James EL, Ewald BD, Johnson NA, Stacey FG, Brown WJ, Holliday EG, Plotnikoff, R., 'Referral for Expert Physical Activity Counseling: A Pragmatic RCT', American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53 490-499 (2017) [C1] DOI 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.06.016

Article has an altmetric score of 4

Raine KD, Plotnikoff R, Schopflocher D, Lytvyak E, Nykiforuk CIJ, Storey K, et al., 'Healthy Alberta communities: Impact of a three-year community-based obesity and chronic disease prevention intervention', Preventive Medicine, 57 955-962 (2013) [C1] DOI 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.08.024

Plotnikoff R, Morgan PJ, Lubans DR, Rhodes R, Costigan SA, 'The Intersect of Theory, Methods, and Translation in Guiding Interventions for the Promotion of Physical Activity: A Case Example of a Research Programme', AUSTRALIAN PSYCHOLOGIST, 49 110-126 (2014) [C1] DOI 10.1111/ap.12037

Plotnikoff RC, Karunamuni N, Courneya KS, Sigal RJ, Johnson JA, Johnson ST, 'The Alberta Diabetes and Physical Activity Trial (ADAPT): A Randomized Trial Evaluating Theory-Based Interventions to Increase Physical Activity in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes', ANNALS OF BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE, 45 45-56 (2013) [C1] DOI 10.1007/s12160-012-9405-2