Prof David Dunstan - the negative effects of prolonged sitting and sedentary behaviour

This week on the podcast Mikki chats to Prof David Dunstan about the dangers of sedentary behaviour and prolonged sitting. They discuss what sedentary behaviour actually is and how this differs from inactivity. They discuss the physiological changes that occur when we are sedentary and how it impacts our cardiovascular and respiratory health, how it impacts on fat deposition and at a population level, what is the % of people who could be considered sedentary. They discuss the physical activity guidelines and if these are enough to offset the risks associated with being sedentary, and also discuss recent research investigating the relationship between Quality of Life markers, psychological health and sedentary behaviour during Covid. 

Professor David Dunstan is the head of the Baker-Deakin Department of Lifestyle and Diabetes within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition. He also holds the positions of Deputy Director and Laboratory Head (Physical Activity) at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. His research focuses on understanding the adverse health consequences of too much sitting and the potential health benefits resulting from frequently breaking up sitting time with active countermeasures. In particular, he has developed effective strategies to reduce and break up sitting time in adults with or at risk of developing chronic diseases and to support office workers to reduce sedentary behaviour in workplace settings. He is also interested in how best to implement efficacious ‘sit less and move more’ interventions at scale within healthcare settings for those living with or at risk of chronic disease. He was supported by external research fellowships for 16 years and has been a Chief Investigator on 18 nationally-funded studies worth approximately $17 million and 11 international studies from the UK, USA, Sweden and Finland worth more than US$20 million. Professor Dunstan was a Clarivate Highly Cited Cited Researcher in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, placing him in the top 1% most cited for his subject field and year of publication. He has published over 340 peer-review papers and 5 book chapters and has a Scopus H-index of 79. Other highlights include: being an invited author on the 2016 Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association; invited presentations at scientific meetings for the American Diabetes Association and European Society for the Study of Diabetes; and current Vice-President of the Asia-Pacific Society for Physical Activity (ASPA).

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