Sitting, Standing and Moving: Evaluating the impact of health enhancing initiatives

NHMRC Early Career Fellowship

This program of research aimed to inform evaluation of targeted interventions and population-wide initiatives to promote reductions in sitting and increases in standing and moving. The research addressed the following research questions:

1) How effective are current self-report measures, compared to device-based measures, at identifying change in sitting, standing and moving?

2) What improvement in currently available device-based measures can be obtained by applying newer techniques for analysis?

3) Can device-based techniques identify the context of change in sitting, standing and moving?

4) How effective is a newly developed online self-report data collection tool at detecting change in sitting, standing and moving?

Funding Body

National Health and Medical Research Council - Early Career Fellowship

Project outputs and outcomes

The research undertaken in the program showed that there are self-report measures that can detect change in sitting, standing and moving time. More importantly, new self-report measures were developed to measure how sitting time is accumulated and broken up by standing and moving and that these measures can detect change in behavioural interventions.

Evaluation of new and existing machine learning algorithms using accelerometer data showed that these can be used effectively and interchangeably with high accuracy for identifying sitting, standing and stepping when worn on the thigh.

Lastly newer methods of using Bluetooth to identify the context of sitting, standing and moving indoors showed high accuracy for objective measurement of context. Further research in the program has added development of methods using mmWave technology and ecological momentary sampling for identifying context of physical behaviour, which have shown promise for use in future interventions.


The measurement methods developed in this program of research are freely available to researchers and health workers tackling the issues of a sedentary society where people spend too much time sitting and too little time moving, resulting in increased risk of developing chronic diseases and premature mortality.

Having these methods allows the evaluation of whether interventions and strategies to get people to sit less and move more actually work, and it is important to identify what strategies/programs work, so that these can be implemented in the population for improvement in health.

The methods were a mix of inexpensive easy to implement self-report methods and more accurate but more expensive device-based measures providing a range of methods that can be selected depending on the budget and expertise available for projects.

Project members

Dr Bronwyn Clark

UQ Amplify Senior Lecturer
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences