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Okely, Anthony Senior Professor

School of Health and Society

  • Director of Research - Early Start Research 2015 - 2018


Anthony Okely is a Senior Professor in the School of Health and Society at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He is a NHMRC Leadership Fellow (Level 2), and Theme Leader at the Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute. He has been awarded over $19 Million in competitive funding and published more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles that have been cited more than 23,000 times. He has a h-index of 77. 

His research focuses on movement behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep) in children, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. He is the 6th most published researcher in the world on physical activity and children. 

Anthony led the team that developed the Australian 24-hr Movement Guidelines for Children birth to 5 years. He was part of the Guideline Development Group for the WHO guidelines on physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviours in children under 5 years of age, and for similar guidelines in South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Asia-Pacific. 

He currently leads an international study of movement behaviours in the early years called SUNRISE, which involves 41 countries, 25 of which are low- or middle-income. 

In 2019 Anthony was identified as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate.

Top Publications

Available as Research Supervisor

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Impact Story

  • This project was commissioned by the NSW Department of Education in 2016 to evaluate a change in school classroom design moving from traditional rows of desks to a Flexible Learning Space (FLS) design which accommodates a variety of furnishings to meet the needs of different pedagogical approaches of teachers and learning styles of students. This project has benefited the NSW Department of Education by providing feedback to teachers, executives and directors regarding the effect of FLS on children’s learning, time on task, engagement and collaboration. At an organisational level, the research provided constructive infrastructural design advice and addressed teacher concerns regarding the practical implications of a pedagogical approach which encouraged students to be co-creators of their learning experience using collaboration, independence and experiential learning in an environment where students are free to move around the classroom. Children benefitted through a more actively engaged approach to their learning which resulted in more positive classroom interactions and a reduction in sitting time, resulting in improved health and wellbeing.

Available as Research Supervisor


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Healthy Eating and Active Play in Family Day Care
    Doctor of Philosophy Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Environments for out of School Hours Care Settings
    Doctor of Philosophy 24-hour movement behaviours across the primary-secondary school transition: Associations with physical and psychosocial health in preadolescent children
    Doctor of Philosophy Cross-sectional and prospective associations between 24-hour movement behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep) and health among children in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
    Doctor of Philosophy Relationships between gross motor skills and health and developmental outcomes in young children. Kazmierska-Kowalewska, Kalina
    Doctor of Philosophy A social marketing campaign to promote physical activity in the South Pacific region Ryan, Sarah
    Doctor of Philosophy Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Before School Programs in Two NSW Health LHDs Woods, Andrew
    Doctor of Philosophy Healthy eating, physical activity and sedentary behaviours in Outside School Hours Care services. Patel, Linda
    Doctor of Philosophy Translating Child Health and Development Data into Policy and Practice in Papua New Guinea (PNG) Emori, Rebecca
    Doctor of Philosophy Adherence to international 24-hour movement behaviour guidelines (physical activity, sleep and screen time) and associations with physical and cognitive development in young children in Ethiopia Tugu, Chalchisa Abdeta
    Doctor of Philosophy Developing and testing an online support tool for service providers and educators in family day care to improve nutrition and physical activity practices Tran, Georgie


  • children movement behaviours
  • physical activity

  • sedentary behaviour

Web Of Science Researcher Id

  • R-1679-2018

Top Publications

Member Of

Selected Publications