Please mark your calendar because Professor Tony Okely (from Australia) will give a lecture at CHEO at 10:00am on the 11th of December (room R154). Details are provided below.

TITLE: “Standing up” for young children’s health: How sedentary are young children, what factors may influence sedentariness and what can be done to reduce it?

ABSTRACT: Young children spend a large proportion of their day in sedentary behaviour. This may not be good for their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. If ways can be found to promote less sedentariness (i.e., sitting) and more standing and light-intensity physical activity this may help young children to be more active, enhance their self-regulation and, ultimately, their school readiness. Higher levels of school readiness have been associated with greater educational and economic outcomes later in life. Promoting less sitting, especially in early childhood education and care settings would involve making some key changes to the physical environment and to policies and practices such as replacing chairs with standing desks, allowing children to move more freely during and between activities, integrating movement into other learning areas (such as literacy and numeracy), and breaking up sitting time with energy breaks. This presentation will describe the prevalence of sitting, its links with health and development, correlates of sitting behaviour, and ways to reduce sitting time in the early years of life.

BIO: Professor Anthony Okely is a National Heart Foundation of Australia Career Development Fellow and Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences. He is currently Director of the Early Start Research Institute at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has been awarded over $6 Million in competitive funding, including being Principal Investigator on two National Health and Medical Research Council Project grants.  He has published 135 peer-reviewed journal articles, three book chapters, and four policy-related monographs or reports; has around 2,400 career citations, and his h index is 27 (based on Scopus).

Okely’s current research focuses on physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and gross motor or fundamental movement skills in children aged 0-5 years. It encompasses observational studies that describe the prevalence and patterns of these behaviours; relationships with health, education, and other developmental outcomes; interventions; and guideline development.

Okely led the research team that developed the Australian Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years, and the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children and Young People and was an international expert on the Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years, and the Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Canadian Children and Youth. He was also a member of the Early Years Expert Working Group for the UK Physical Activity Guidelines in 2011. According to Scopus data he is the most published researcher in the world in the area of movement skills and in preschool physical activity.