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22 November 2019

Institute news

Two of the Institute’s physical activity researchers have this week been named in the global list of highly cited researchers who have demonstrated exceptional influence in their field.

The Institute’s Head of Physical Activity Research, Professor David Dunstan and the Head of Behavioural Epidemiology, Professor Neville Owen feature in this list in the field of social sciences, consolidating their standing as international experts in physical activity and sedentary behaviour research.

The list from the Web of Science group identifies global research scientists in multiple fields who have demonstrated exceptional influence — reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade. Researchers are selected for their exceptional performance in one or more of 21 broad fields (those used in Web of Science Group's Essential Science Indicators) or across several fields.

The group noted that Australian research institutes continue to impress. The number of researchers recognised as ‘highly cited’ has more than tripled in six years, from 80 in 2014 to 271 in 2019, among those selected in one or more of the 21 fields.

The Baker Institute has recognised the significant body of influential work and its contributions to improving health by Professors Dunstan, Owen and colleagues through a permanent display in the Institute’s foyer. The display highlights the development of a body of observational and experimental evidence pointing to the clinical and population-health significance of sedentary behaviour — too much sitting as distinct from too little exercise.

The Institute’s program of sedentary behaviour research has informed policy and best-practice recommendations. These include Australia’s 2014 Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines; the 2016 position statements of both the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association; and in 2018 the US physical activity guidelines task force specifically identified sedentary behaviour as one of the key areas of interest in physical activity and health, with multiple references to research findings from the Baker Institute. This new way of understanding physical inactivity has also stimulated active-working initiatives by business and industry, government departments, and occupational health and safety bodies.

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