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Okely, Anthony D. Senior Professor

Director of Research

  • Director of Research - Early Start Research 2015 - 2018


Anthony (Tony) Okely is a Senior Professor and Director of Research at Early Start at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has been awarded over $11 Million in competitive funding, and published around 200 peer-reviewed journal articles that have been cited more than 10,000 times.

Tony’s research focuses on physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and motor development in children.

Tony led the research team that developed and recently updated the Australian Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years, and the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children and Young People. He is also part of the Guideline Development Group for the upcoming WHO guidelines on physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviours in children under 5 years of age.

He is leading a proposed international surveillance study of 24-hour movement behaviours in the early years (called SUNRISE) which will involve around 25 countries, more than half of which are either low- or middle-income according to the UN Human Development Index.

Top Publications

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications

Investigator On

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 The relationship between educator engagement and interaction and children's physical activity in early childhood education and care services Tonge, Karen
    Doctor of Philosophy A Sports-Based Family Intervention to Promote Mental Health among Adolescent males. Hurley, Diarmuid
    Doctor of Philosophy Infant behaviour and development - tummy time Hewitt, Lyndel
    Doctor of Philosophy Investigating the Impact of the Spatial Environment on Adolescents - Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Cognition within the High School Environment. Kariippanon, Katharina
    Doctor of Philosophy Relationships between gross motor skills and health and developmental outcomes in young children. Kazmierska-Kowalewska, Kalina
    Doctor of Philosophy Development a preliminary food security instrument, in consultation with Aboriginal Australian Communities in the Northern Territory Crowe, Ruth
    Doctor of Philosophy Measurement, Levels, Patterns and Correlates of Sedentary Behaviour in Toddlers and Pre-schoolers. Rodrigues Pereira, Joao Rafael
    Doctor of Philosophy Environmental Features, Quality of the Childcare Practices and Adiposity in Toddlers Zhang, Zhiguang
    Doctor of Philosophy Exploring changes in non-organised physical activity participation from childhood to adolescence: an interdisciplinary approach Kemp, Byron
    Doctor of Philosophy 24-hour movement behaviours across the primary-secondary school transition: Associations with physical and psychosocial health in preadolescent children Chong, Kar-Hau
    Doctor of Philosophy Fine motor skill acquisition in the early years: Understanding children’s progression and supporting development Strooband, Karel
    Doctor of Philosophy Healthy Eating and Active Play in Family Day Care Kerr, Erin
    Doctor of Philosophy A social marketing campaign to promote physical activity in the South Pacific region Ryan, Sarah
    Master of Philosophy -SOC Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Before School Programs in Two NSW Health LHDs Woods, Andrew
    Doctor of Philosophy Translational Research of Healthy Eating and Active Living in Children Elbayeh, Linda
    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. Alanazi, Yazeed

Web Of Science Researcher Id

  • R-1679-2018

Top Publications

Selected Publications