Our research

At IPAN, our research focuses on improving the health of all Australians. It covers a broad range of areas including metabolism, physiology, clinical and behavioural studies, and community and population-based research.

Highlights from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition

Our research areas

We cover a diverse range of health-related research including:

Physical activity and sedentary behaviour in children and adolescents

  • Understanding the factors affecting children and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels
  • Designing programs in schools and homes to help kids be more active and less sedentary
  • Changing neighbourhoods to make it easier for kids to engage in active transport and be physically active

Obesity prevention

  • Understanding why some people gain an unhealthy amount of weight, and what can be done to prevent unhealthy weight gain
  • Developing programs to help prevent unhealthy weight gain in children, adolescents, adults and older adults

Healthy neighbourhoods

  • Encouraging active transport and increasing opportunities for physical activity
  • Improving access to healthy food outlets, and restricting the location of fast food outlets
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of improvements to public open spaces (e.g. parks, green spaces) for increasing usage and physical activity

Healthy behaviours in early childhood

  • Encouraging good health in children from infancy to primary school age by giving families the knowledge and skills to help children eat well, be physically active, and reduce sedentary behaviour

Disadvantaged communities

  • Improving the health of people on low incomes or living in disadvantaged areas by helping them gain knowledge, confidence and skills to eat better and be more active
  • Changing neighbourhoods to ensure people in disadvantaged communities have access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities

Healthy ageing

  • Understanding nutrition and physical activity issues for older people
  • Developing programs to prevent falls and injury, improve nutritional status and improve cognition in older people, to keep them living well and independently for longer

Healthy pregnancy

  • Understanding the role of maternal nutrition during pregnancy on the health of mothers and babies
  • Educating health professionals and 'mums-to-be' on preventing unhealthy weight gain and improving health in pregnancy to ensure the best outcomes for mothers and babies

Healthy and active workplaces

  • Helping workplaces reduce the time workers spend being sedentary (sitting) at work to improve health
  • Helping emergency services workers stay safe and physically and mentally well, in order to be able to perform at their best so they can help Australians in times of crisis

Healthy bones and muscles

  • Understanding how nutrition and physical activity affects muscle and bone development, growth and performance in healthy people
  • Understanding how best to maximise muscle strength and function

Incurable muscle disease

  • Finding treatments to enhance quality of life until a cure can be found for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (diagnosed in childhood) and motor neurone disease

Chronic disease prevention

  • Help to prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, anemia, prostate cancer and dementia
  • Assist with the management and treatment of these diseases to help people live well for longer

Cognitive and mental health

  • Identifying how different types of exercise, nutrients and eating patterns can improve cognition, reduce the risk of cognitive decline and help improve mental health

Consumer food choices

  • Understanding the factors that influence the food choices we make, what factors are most important when making food choices and how to influence food choices
  • Working with food stores, such as supermarkets, to promote healthy eating and easy access to healthy foods in store

Salt and health

  • Monitoring salt intakes and raising awareness about salt and its impact on health
  • Helping families to reduce salt intake, and preventing young children developing a taste for salt, to improve future health

Food policy and public health

  • Understanding food systems to protect food sustainability and security
  • Promoting healthy and sustainable diets
  • Monitoring and evaluating the public health impact of dietary guidelines, food selection guides, nutrient reference values and food regulation

Research highlights at IPAN

Watch the full version of our highlights

IPAN is a world-leader in terms of its focus across the lifespan from childhood to older adulthood. For us to continue to focus on prevention is important but also on treatment and how we can improve the quality of life



Our current projects

With more than 50 staff and 60 PhD students we have a large number of projects underway including:

Other key IPAN projects also include: 

  • The Melbourne Infant (Infant Feeding Activity and Nutritional Trial) Program 
  • Infant Extend program 
  • Transform Us! 
  • Happy (Healthy Active Pre-School and Primary Years) Study.

Read about other key IPAN projects

Contact us

Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
General enquiries
+61 3 9244 6613
Email IPAN
Twitter: @DeakinIPAN

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood Victoria 3125