Researcher acknowledged for taking a stand on poor health habits

10 Nov 2014

A University of Queensland researcher taking a stand for office workers has been recognised for work that is influencing public health guidelines in Australia, the UK and the US.

Dr Genevieve Healy, from UQ’s School of Population Health, won the Griffith University Discovery award category at the annual Research Australia Award ceremony in Sydney on 5 November.  

Dr Healy has  developed the “breaks hypothesis”, which provides some of the first evidence that too much uninterrupted sitting increases risk factors for many chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

School of Population Health Head Professor Charles Gilks said Dr Healy’s research had changed thinking about exercise among professionals across the globe.

“Dr Healy’s research has been hailed as ground-breaking and paradigm-shifting by the world’s leading exercise scientists,” Professor Gilks said.  

“Her findings have influenced changes to the recommendations and guidelines regarding sitting in many countries including Australia, the UK and the US.

“The Australian physical activity guidelines now include specific recommendations to break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.”

Dr Healy said people should stand up at least every 30 minutes.

She is now researching just how much activity is needed to break up sitting time.

“We are keen to investigate whether just standing up regularly is enough or whether some walking needs to occur and at what intensity,” Dr Healy said.

“My team and I will also develop practical guidelines on how to get us all sitting less and moving more in real-world settings, particularly in sitting hot spots such as offices.”

Research Australia is an independent alliance of 160 members and supporters advocating for health and medical research in Australia.

MediaVanessa Mannix Coppard,, 042 420 7771.