Kinesiology Distinguished Speaker Series: “Sitting less, HIITing more and everything in between: Implementing evidence-based physical activity in schools”

Seminar Speaker: Professor David R. Lubans, University of Newcastle, Australia

Host: Dr. Mark Beauchamp, Professor, UBC School of Kinesiology

RSVP: This event is free but RSVP is required.


Physical inactivity has been described as a global pandemic and is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. Experimental studies have provided evidence that participation in aerobic and resistance-based physical activity, can improve a wide range of health outcomes in young people. Schools are ideally placed to deliver evidence-based interventions promoting movement across the intensity spectrum (i.e., from reducing sitting time to promoting vigorous physical activity). However, achieving optimal ‘implementation’ (i.e., all aspects of the program delivered as intended) is challenging, especially in large-scale effectiveness and dissemination studies. Indeed, poor implementation and failure to consider ‘scalability’ in the original intervention design may explain why the promising findings from efficacy studies are rarely replicated in translational trials. Key factors influencing the implementation of school-based physical activity interventions include: i) time (e.g., competing curriculum requirements), ii) quality and availability of resources/facilities, iii) school climate (e.g., administrative support and school culture), and iv) staff support (e.g., teacher professional learning). This presentation will outline effective implementation strategies used to support the delivery of recent and on-going physical activity interventions conducted in primary and secondary school settings. Featured studies will include interventions designed to: i) reduce sitting and promote light activity (EASY Minds), ii) increase muscular fitness (Resistance Training for Teens), iii) increase moderate-to-vigorous activity within and beyond the school day (SCORES and PA4E1) and iv) improve cardiorespiratory fitness using high-intensity interval training (Burn 2 Learn). Future research directions and implications for school-based physical activity interventions will be discussed.

Professor David Lubans is the Theme Lead for school-based research in the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition. He is leading a program of research focused on: (i) the mechanisms responsible for the effects of physical activity on cognitive and mental health, and (ii) the design, evaluation and dissemination of school-based physical activity interventions (i.e., >30 interventions involving more than 10,000 children and adolescents). Of note, Professor Lubans and his colleagues are now working with departments of education to disseminate a number of these interventions in primary and secondary schools. He has more than 190 peer-reviewed journal publications and as a chief investigator he has secured over $18 million in competitive research funding, including four National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project and Partnership grants and three Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project grants focused on physical activity promotion. Professor Lubans is currently supported by an ARC Future Fellowship. Read more at:

Seminar Poster