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Unit of study_

HSBH2008: Physical Activity and Population Health

This unit of study provides students with an opportunity to develop an up-to-date critical understanding of the role of physical activity for the health of the population as well as the most promising principles that underpin mass-level physical activity interventions. Students will examine in detail the population's participation patterns and barriers to be physically active and has a primary focus on every-day incidental (non-sporting) physical activity for the prevention of physical and mental chronic disease. The unit is largely multi-disciplinary and it goes beyond disease prevention, to explore themes like positive wellbeing/happiness and maintenance of functional ability and independence to an older age. This unit takes a lifespan approach and actively promotes an understanding of the direct and distal implications of physical inactivity at each life stage. Particular acknowledgement is given to physical activity as a behaviour that is not merely a lifestyle 'choice' as it is often thought by medicine and other individual-centred disciplines; but rather the outcome of a complex web of societal, cultural, economic, political and individual circumstances that lead to the formation of personal habits across the lifespan. The entire unit will be largely interactive and will encourage students to discuss, debate, and critically evaluate the evidence, and provides the opportunity to have a project that will assist in future employment. At the start of the unit the students will be provided with an accessible and user friendly set of skills and tools (e.g. statistics, physical activity measurement) to enable them to make the most of the learning experience.

Code HSBH2008
Academic unit Health Sciences
Credit points 6
48 credit points of units

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand the most essential statistical and methodological concepts of public health, epidemiology, and define physical activity as part of the 24-hour continuum, differentiating between key terms such as sedentary behaviour, physical activity, exercise, and fitness
  • LO2. Classify the main physical activity measurements and develop a good understanding of the strengths and limitations of each method
  • LO3. Discuss the use of physical activity and sedentary behaviour surveillance systems in Australia, other developed countries and the developing world, and identify common denominators in countries with similar prevalence patterns
  • LO4. Understand determinants and correlates of physical activity, and whether and how individual and population level physical activity determinants can be modified
  • LO5. Debate the role of the broader sociocultural, economic, and political environment as determinants of physical activity in children and adults and describe how physical activity habits in childhood influence future health and future behaviour in adulthood
  • LO6. Identify the positive wellbeing-promoting properties of physically active lifestyles (beyond disease prevention and treatment) for optimisation of and maintenance of functional ability, mental wellbeing, and independence at all ages, including an understanding of the complex links between mental wellbeing and physical activity
  • LO7. Debate the potential of self-monitoring for the population’s physical activity behaviour change, the promise of commercial wearable devices, public transportation and active transportation as drivers to self-monitoring physical activity
  • LO8. Differentiate between individual-level vs. population-level approaches to physical activity behaviour change and identify the main applications of each approach, determining the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of public health and individual level interventions in the context of health behaviours.