Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

ACU experts lead global exercise and sport science conference

Olympic Gold medal rower Kim Brennan (centre) with ACU’s Prue Cormie, Louise Burke and John Hawley at the Research to Practice 2018 conference in Brisbane.

Leading ACU exercise and sport science experts John Hawley and Prue Cormie co-chaired the prestigious Research to Practice 2018 conference, which drew  800 global and national leaders, in Brisbane this week.

Held just days before the 2018 Commonwealth Games kicked off on the Gold Coast, Research to Practice 2018 is Exercise and Sports Science Australia’s (ESSA) flagship conference.

Billed as the largest exercise and sport science gathering in the southern hemisphere, it attracted a stellar line-up of sporting leaders, academics and experts who unpacked the latest health issues surrounding physical inactivity.

Physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, mental health and cardiovascular disease. About  11 million Australians have a chronic disease  –  the leading cause of illness, disability and premature death.

In the keynote speech Exercise is Medicine: From Bench to Bedside, Dr Robert Sallis, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California, highlighted how exercise should be the first line of treatment for chronic disease prevention.

ACU researchers featured strongly in the conference line-up.

World-renowned exercise and nutrition researcher, Professor Hawley spoke about how diet and exercise intervention can salvage harmful effects on circadian biology.

While Associate Professor Cormie, who was instrumental in launching the Australian first EX-MED Cancer program –  a free exercise program for cancer patients to help with the side effects of treatment, increase quality of life and improve survival –  highlighted the growing evidence around benefits of exercise.

“We know that if the effects of exercise could be captured in a pill, this pill would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and it would be seen as a breakthrough,” she said.

“Every 10 minutes an Australian is diagnosed with a rare or less common cancer such as brain, thyroid, liver, pancreatic, kidney, testicular and every hour three Australians die from rare and less common cancers.’’

In a conference highlight, Professor Hawley, Director of ACU’s Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, interviewed Olympic gold medal rower Kim Brennan AM and her coach Tony Rice.

Other ACU experts included Professor Louise Burke, head of sports nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport; Professor David Dunstan, head of the Physical Activity Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute; Associate Professor Stuart Cormack and Associate Professor Michael Baker.

Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research academics Dr Evelyn Parr, Dr Trine Moholdt and  Dr Donny Camera also delivered presentations.

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