Research Capital Investment Funding 2015/16 – Alex Clarke-Cornwell

Alex Clarke-Cornwell has recently been awarded £17,600 from the University of Salford’s Research Capital Investment Fund, in order to purchase a number of physical activity behaviour monitors for future research projects.

Alex is a Lecturer in Public Health, whose research interests include the measurement and quantification of sedentary behaviour, physical activity, and workplace health.  The technological revolution has seen an increase in computer based occupations, with many workers spending the majority of their work time sitting: this increase in sedentary behaviour is known to be associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and early mortality, independent of physical activity levels.  There are currently no UK studies with the primary outcome to investigate the effects of sit-stand desks on reducing sitting time at work and in improving health related outcomes.  A study to look at the health/work benefits of sit-stand desks in the workplace, using activity monitors, is currently in the development stage in collaboration with industrial partners.

The activPAL™ is a small, light-weight accelerometer-based device, attached to the thigh, which is used to measure acceleration of the body; it also includes an inclinometer that can distinguish between time spent in different postures.  A single dataset from an activPAL™ can be analysed by several researchers, each asking distinct questions, thereby benefitting researchers across disciplines.  Alex, alongside, Dr Chris Pickford and Rob Broadley (PhD student) are also working to establish a data sharing repository to enable current and future researchers to share activity monitor data across the university and elsewhere.  The purchase of new activPAL™ devices will immediately benefit members of the multidisciplinary Measurement and Quantification of Physical Behaviour Research Group in the School of Health Sciences, which currently includes researchers and postgraduate students from Public Health, the Institute for Dementia, Clinical Rehabilitation, Biomechanics, and Sport, Exercise and Physiotherapy.

Follow Alex’s research on Twitter @barmyalex

Photograph of Alex Clarke Cornwell

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