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Healthy Ageing

Only 25% of adults aged over 65 undertake the recommended amount of physical activity. This theme focuses on developing and evaluating physical activity-based approaches to promoting healthy ageing.

The Healthy Ageing theme includes research staff, research students and professional staff with a variety of backgrounds including physiotherapy, exercise physiology and health promotion. We aim to help reduce the global epidemic of physical inactivity.

Theme Leader

Professor Anne Tiedemann is Professor of Physical Activity and Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney. Anne’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of scalable physical activity-based strategies to promote health and prevent falls in middle to older age. Professor Tiedemann has received $26 million in research funding and has 165 peer-reviewed publications. She has a professional background in exercise physiology and obtained a PhD from The University of New South Wales in 2007.

Current research projects & trials

Choose To Move Sydney

We hope the findings of this project lead to the implementation of the Choose To Move program into community settings in NSW to increase participation in physical activity by people aged 60+ years. Choose To Move is a community-based program co-designed with older adults and community partners in Canada that increases physical activity and mobility and reduces social isolation. Choose To Move integrates behaviour change principles into two components: activity coaches deliver eight motivational group meetings and conduct one, one-on-one action planning meeting with each participant during the 3-month program. The aim of this project is to adapt the Choose To Move program to the Sydney context. Evaluation will include: 1. Assessment of implementation strategies and indicators to identify factors contributing to implementation effectiveness; 2. Measure if the Choose To Move program benefits health outcomes (e.g., physical activity, mobility, social isolation) in community-dwellers aged 60+ years in Sydney. Principal Investigator: Professor Anne Tiedemann (IMH) Investigators: Professor Heather McKay (University of British Columbia, Canada), Professor Cathie Sherrington (IMH), Associate Professor Leanne Hassett (IMH), Prof Luke Wolfenden (University of Newcastle), Emeritus Professor Adrian Bauman (The University of Sydney), , Professor Philayrath Phongsavan (University of Sydney), Professor Ben Smith (University of Sydney), Dr Juliana Oliveira (IMH), Dr James Kite (University of Sydney), Adrian Prakash (SHARE), Associate Professor Dawn Mackey (Simon Fraser University, Canada), Joanie Sims Gould (University of British Columbia, Canada), Dr Bernadette Brady (University of Sydney). The sponsor of this trial is The University of Sydney. Funding is from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Active Women over 50

We hope the findings of this project lead to the implementation of a remotely delivered information and support program that is effective in improving physical activity and other physical and mental health outcomes in women aged 50+ years. The aim of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Active Women over 50 program for increasing physical activity compared with a no intervention wait-list, among 1000 women aged 50+ in urban and rural/regional/remote NSW. Participants will be randomly allocated to one of two groups. Group one will receive access to the Active Women over 50 program including a tailored website, telephone health coaching, SMS/email-based messages and Facebook group, to provide support, motivation and guidance on increasing physical activity. Group two will be placed on a waitlist and receive access to the Active Women over 50 program after the 6 month follow-up. Principal Investigator: Professor Anne Tiedemann (IMH) Investigators: Professor Cathie Sherrington (IMH), Associate Professor Leanne Hassett (IMH), Professor Philayrath Phongsavan (University of Sydney), Emeritus Professor Adrian Bauman (University of Sydney), Dr Abigail Haynes (University of Sydney), Dr Marina de Barros Pinheiro (University of Sydney), Dr Dominika Kwasnicka (University of Melbourne), Professor Nehmat Houssami (University of Sydney), Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum (University of New South Wales), Associate Professor Georgina Luscombe (University of Sydney), Dr Heidi Gilchrist (University of Sydney), Geraldine Wallbank (University of Sydney), Dr Grace McKeon (University of New South Wales), Professor Kirsten Howard (University of Sydney), Dr Raaj Kishore Biswas (SLHD), Susan Linney (consumer advisor), Trish Stabback (consumer advisor CWA NSW), Kamilla Haufort (consumer advisor COTA NSW). The sponsor of this trial is The University of Sydney. Funding is from the Medical Research Future Fund.

RIPE Dance

We hope the findings of this project lead to the development of a dance program that is effective in preventing falls among people aged 60+ years. RIPE Dance (Really Is Possible for Everyone), provides popular, long-running tailored dance programs, with a fall prevention focus, for over 100 older people in Southeast Queensland. We plan to conduct a pilot RCT of RIPE dance classes for community-dwelling people aged 60+. The objective is to test the feasibility, acceptability, and intervention impact of the RIPE dance classes. The results will inform the design and methods for a planned large trial of tailored dance classes for older people, with falls as the primary outcome. Principal Investigator: Dr Heidi Gilchrist (IMH) Investigators: Professor Anne Tiedemann (IMH), Professor Cathie Sherrington (IMH), Dr Abigail Haynes (University of Sydney), Dr Juliana Oliveira (IMH), Professor Dafna Merom (Western Sydney University). The sponsor of this trial is The University of Sydney. Funding is from the Physiotherapy Research Foundation.


We hope the findings of this project lead to enhanced promotion of physical activity by health professionals for people aged 50+ and people of all ages with a physical disability. The aim of the project is to to collaboratively develop and test a strategy to support health professionals to promote PA to their patients – including older adults and children/adolescents/adults with physical disabilities – within their daily clinical practice. The project is currently recruiting participants for phase one of the study-collaborative implementation strategy development. In this phase we will conduct interviews, focus groups, workshops and surveys with health professionals, exercise providers and consumers to identify barriers to PA promotion and collaboratively develop the evidence-based implementation strategies and intervention elements. Phase 2 of the study is a Type 2 hybrid effectiveness-implementation cluster randomised trial (2023 onwards). In Phase 2 we will test the effectiveness of the implementation strategies and intervention elements in a Type 2 hybrid cluster randomised trial recruiting 800 participants across 30 sites. Chief Investigator Professor Cathie Sherrington (IMH) Our team comprises academics, public health experts and health economists from the University of Sydney, UNSW, Western Sydney University and Australian Catholic University, as well as multi-disciplinary clinicians from five Local Health Districts (Sydney, Western Sydney, South-Western Sydney, South-Eastern Sydney and Sydney Children Hospitals Network). Partner organisations include Disability Sport Australia, Australian Physiotherapy Association, Clinical Excellence Commission, iCare and Belgravia Leisure. This project has received ethics approval from Local Health District Ethics Committees and is being funded by an NHMRC Partnership Grant. For more information about this project, please contact: Kate Purcell e:

PlaTFORM: PrevenTing Falls in a high risk, vision impaired population through specialist ORientation and Mobility services: a randomised trial

Visually impaired older people are increasing in number, have significant morbidity but are neglected when it comes to a specific falls prevention strategy. The intention of the trial is to validate the new falls prevention program – Exercise (LiFE) – for visually impaired older people. The PlaTFORM Trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the Exercise (LiFE) program to prevent falls and improve function in older people with vision impairment compared to usual care. Participants will be randomised to receive either the LiFE intervention or usual care. The LiFE intervention will be delivered by Guide Dogs’ Orientation and Mobility Instructors. Falls will be reported on a monthly bases and physical activity will be measured at the start of the trial, 3 months and 12 months. This study is currently recruiting. You may be eligible to participate in the study if you are: a client of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT with vision impairment severe enough to interfere with activities of daily living; aged 50 years or older; living in the community or self-care unit of a retirement village; able to understand English well enough to undertake study procedures; no more than two errors on the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire; no diagnosis of dementia; and not scheduled for cataract surgery in the next 12 months. Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Lisa Keay Institute for Musculoskeletal Health Investigator: Professor Anne Tiedemann For more information on this George Institute for Global Health trial, please contact: Kirsten Jakobsen e: Trial registered on ANZCTR: ACTRN12616001186448 This NHMRC trial has received ethics approval from the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee.

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