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PhD Scholarship - High-intensity interval exercise interventions in educational settings (UQ/Exeter Joint PhD)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, May 20, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Despite only ~ 20% of children and adolescents meeting the physical activity guidelines and the identification of educational settings as ideal sites for physical activity promotion, contemporary systematic reviews show that traditional school-based interventions are unsuccessful.Accordingly, novel approaches in educational settings are needed to promote physical activity in children and adolescents and promote health and wellbeing.

Given recent data suggesting that health benefits (e.g. cardiometabolic health and fitness outcomes) are driven by vigorous intensity physical activity, nterventions targeting vigorous intensity physical activity have been identified as a novel approach to promoting health in youth. Specifically, there have been calls in recent physical activity guidelines in the UK and USA to focus on the role of high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) training as a method to increase vigorous intensity physical activity, to promote health and wellbeing in children and adolescents. Relevant reviews support the utility of HIIE to reduce cardiometabolic risk and augment cardiorespiratory fitness in children and adolescents. However, the majority of HIIE research has been conducted in laboratories and relevant research in authentic educational settings such as schools, a unique and opportune location to target health behaviour modification in children and adolescents, is limited. Further, several shortcomings have been identified in school-based HIIE research.

Building on the recommendationsof the narrative review by Bond et al. and a systematic review by Stylianou, Barker, Walker, et al. [in progress], this project will address the following aims:

- Investigate the acceptability, feasibility, and process of delivery of HIIE interventions in educational settings.
- Investigate the effect of HIIE interventions in educational settings on: (a) markers of cardiometabolic health, (b) cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, (c) physical activity levels, (d) psychological factors relating to exercise participation (e.g. enjoyment) and wellbeing (e.g. self-esteem, anxiety), and (e) cognitive and academic outcomes.
- To examine the contribution of nutrition as a confounding factor or exploratory variable in HIIE interventions.
- To examine whether intervention outcomes are altered by participant characteristics (e.g. age, sex, body weight status), delivery setting (e.g. in class, before/after school), and intervention characteristics (e.g. modality, frequency, intensity, duration).
The uniqueness of this PhD lies in addressing the above novel aims, adopting a co-construction approach by involving stakeholders (e.g. students, teachers) in the design of HIIE interventions, and undertaking a comprehensive process evaluation.

Funding Notes

This scholarship includes a living stipend of AUD $27,596 (2019) tax free, indexed annually, tuition fees and Overseas Student Health Cover (where applicable). A travel grant of AUD $8,500 per annum, and a training grant of AUD $3,000 are also available over the program.

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