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Cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve physical activity participation in young people

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Monday, 23 November 2020
Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Public Health (Wellington)
Professor Louise Signal, Dr Anja Mizdrak, Dr Justin Richards (Sport New Zealand)


The New Zealand Government has led the world in the development of a wellbeing agenda that broadens the global fiscal perspective to understanding national prosperity. Sport New Zealand has responded by developing a 2020-2032 Outcomes Framework, which provides a theoretical link between physical activity participation and the New Zealand Governments domains of population wellbeing. The Sport New Zealand 2020-2032 Outcomes Framework includes a direct reference to the “system” that enables a physically active nation. The Global Action Plan for Physical Activity (GAPPA) outlines the intersectoral and cross-agency nature of the physical activity “system”, which means that intervening in one area of the “system” may have distal implications.

It is unclear where in the physical activity “system” is the most potential to improve wellbeing through different interventions, particularly for young people. This project will build on previous international work to examine a range of potential interventions across the physical activity “system” of Aotearoa New Zealand. The overall objective is to examine the implications for young people of implementing a range of interventions in the physical activity system.

The project will be conducted in three parts. First, the project will build on existing research to build a systems map that outlines different areas for intervention to improve physical activity in young people. This systems map will be used to determine specific interventions to be modelled, in consultation with Sport NZ and other stakeholders. Second, the project will adapt an existing physical activity model to capture model inputs and outputs relevant for young people. The Physical Activity and Active Transport Model (PAATM) has been developed as part of the Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity, and Cost-Effectiveness Programme and is one of a suite of NZ-specific models that examine different health interventions. Thirdly, the PhD project will model the costs and benefits of the selected interventions in young people. Results will be used to understand the relative merits and implications of intervening in various parts of the physical activity system.

It is anticipated that this project will inform choices about what interventions are best for improving the physical activity and wellbeing of young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. The research will make an original contribution to the literature in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

We are looking for a highly motivated student with relevant background / expertise to take up this exciting PhD opportunity. The project will be based in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago (Wellington Campus), supervised by Prof Louise Signal and Dr Anja Mizdrak. This project will be funded by a Sport New Zealand Scholarship.


Dr Anja Mizdrak