Institute of Health and
Biomedical Innovation
a university for the real world

Healthy lifestyles


We promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention using strategies based on insights gained about health-related behaviours, particularly physical activity and diet. We focus on determinants of these behaviours, health outcomes and optimal survivorship.

In line with Australian Government Science and Research Priorities - Health (2015), researchers in this program address a range of individual and population-level determinants to promote both physical and mental well-being. This includes the environment in which we live, because health and behaviours of individuals, groups and communities are determined to a large degree by the social, economic, cultural, historical, political and environmental contexts. Collectively, the factors are known as the social determinants of health and they are as important in influencing health and wellbeing across the lifespan as biological and genetic factors.

Our research aligns with the Government’s Health Priorities:

  • prevention and management of emerging local and regional health threats: new evidence-based strategies to promote health and prevent disease
  • effective technologies for individuals to manage their own health care: innovative mobile apps, online resources and other technologies for encouraging adoption and maintenance of healthier lifestyles.

Research programs

  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Nutrition and dietetics
  • Energy metabolism
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Health inequalities
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Women’s health


  • Body composition assessment equipment (BodPod)
  • Exercise equipment suite
  • Computer Assisted Telephone Interview facility
  • QUT Health Clinics - Human Movement and Exercise
  • QUT Health Clinics - Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Human Appetite Research Centre


LEGS follow-up: lymphoedema evaluation following gynaecology cancer study

Lead investigator
Professor Sandi Hayes
The Cancer Council Queensland: $195,895

New technologies in skin cancer prevention

Lead investigator
Dr Elke Hacker
The Cancer Council Queensland: $200,000

Helping women meet their physical activity goals: a randomised, controlled trial of a personalised program delivered by mobile telephone text messaging

Lead investigator
Associate Professor Alison Marshall
National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant: $493,346

Promoting perinatal mental health and wellbeing: development and evaluation of screening and intervention programs for both parents, using the internet and text messages

Lead investigator
Professor David Kavanagh
beyondblue National Priority Driven Research Program: $399,836


Australian partners


  • Moreton Bay Regional Council
  • Brisbane City Council
  • Logan City Council
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads, QLD
  • Queensland Health
  • Australian Institute of Sport
  • Queensland Academy of Sport
  • Mater Hospital

Non-government organisations

  • National Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Council
  • NBCF
  • Melanoma Patients Australia
  • Bicycle Queensland
  • PedBikeTrans
  • RACQ
  • YWCA Encore
  • Breast Cancer Network Australia
  • ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group
  • ANZ Gynaecological Oncology Group
  • True Relationships Australia
  • One Woman Project
  • National Council for Queensland Women
  • Design Institute of Australia Queensland
  • Cancer Council Australia
  • WHO Collaborating Centre on UV Radiation


  • Delta Gymnastics
  • Conrad Gargett Riddel Ancher Mortlock Woolley
  • 7 Senses Foundation
  • Impedimed Ltd
  • Fotofinder
  • Covedian
  • Linfox
  • SkateBix
  • Xyris

Countries where we conduct research

  • New Zealand
  • USA
  • Canada
  • UK
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Indonesia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sri Lanka


Impact of healthy lifestyle researchers in the real world

Built environment

Our researchers have:

  • conducted evaluations for Department of Transport and Main Roads. Evaluation of 1m road rule led to the Queensland rule being adopted into law. Informed the department of perceptions of road users to inform policy. Made a submission to inform new Queensland cycling strategy.
  • provided evidence submitted by Bicycle Queensland to the Queensland State Parliament Inquiry into Cycling Issues and was table in State Parliament in 2013
  • written a document with National Heart Foundation to assist builders/developers in creating built environments that can lead to increased levels of physical activity and well-being
  • worked with the design industry for improved, effective sun protective design for built and natural landscapes in areas where Australians live, work, play and learn.

Health promotion efforts in Australia

Our researchers have:

  • provided a submission to the Health and Ambulance Services Committee Inquiry into establishing a Queensland Health Promotion Commission.

Prevention and control of cancer

Our researchers have developed and contributed to:

  • lymphoedema assessment and treatment guidelines for consumers and health professionals, developed and disseminated by National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre
  • exercise and cancer fact sheets for Exercise is Medicine
  • exercise and cancer position stand, endorsed by ESSA
  • training of the revised YWCA Encore Breast Cancer Rehabilitation program
  • an exercise resource available free to all members of the Breast Cancer Network Australia
  • the review and update of the Cancer Australia psychological clinical practice guidelines for consumers and health professionals
  • conduct of national training programs/workshop in exercise and cancer and exercise and lymphoedema for exercise physiologists, nurses, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals
  • a text-message-delivered intervention for melanoma prevention that informed the US Surgeon Generals' call for better skin cancer prevention
  • a text-message-delivered intervention that has been called to provide a implementation guide for the US national Cancer Institute's Research to reality website
  • a 5-year action plan and online portal for sun protective design tools for apparel and shade for skin cancer prevention.

Physical activity clinical guidelines

Our researchers have:

  • provided evidence on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of Exercise Referral Schemes (UK). Submitted to the National Institute for Health and Case Excellence (NICE), which updated the guidelines for Exercise Referral Schemes in 2014 based on the provided evidence.

Using technology for affecting behaviour and health

Our researchers have:

  • in conjunction with Queensland Health, created short videos for use in blue collar workforces, detailing how small changes to nutrition and physical activity can impact energy balance. The videos are available to use, for example, as part of an induction process for new staff
  • designed and developed a paediatric iPad app for educating children to learn about radiotherapy treatment, using game-like interactions.

Working with local government and local communities

Our researchers are:

  • in partnership with the Australian Centre for Health Law Research, identifying the acceptability and feasibility of the World Health Organisation’s Health in All Policies approach for regional and rural Queensland local governments
  • Developing a community-based health promotion program for regional and rural Queensland communities to respond to the Real Health needs.

Research enquiries