Personal details

Adjunct Associate Professor Tom Cuddihy
IHBI Membership
Institute of Health Biomedical Innovation (IHBI),
IHBI Health Projects,
IHBI Exercise and Nutrition - HDHS
Discipline *
Human Movement and Sports Science
+61 7 3432 9936
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Ph.d (Arizona State University), MHMS (University of Queensland), BEd (University of Queensland), DipT (Kelvin Grove C.A.E)

Professional memberships
and associations

The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) – Qld Management Committee National Vice President


Children and physical activity, Wellness and Health

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Research interests
Research interests involve investigation of factors, which feature the links between physical activity and health, the promotion of wellness across the lifespan, the health effects of differential methods of accumulating physical activity and quality physical education programs for children and youth. Tom has a particular interest in investigating ways of monitoring physical activity in natural settings. These may include the use of techniques such as questionnaires and/or motion analysers, which range from simple pedometers to more complex techniques such as three-dimensional tools and doubly labelled water.

Project highlights

  • Adolescent girls physical activity and growth patterns and skeletal health.

Research summary: This research is a three-year longitudinal study of these factors in a cohort of adolescent girls as they aged from either Year 8 or Year 10. Patterns of self reported physical activity, psychosocial indicators, growth and skeletal health as measured by DEXA were dependent variables in this study. Predictor variables of levels of physical activity engagement and links between psychosocial determinants, patterns of physical activity and skeletal health are currently being examined.

Publications: Several conference presentations have been made with regards to this project. These have been at an international and national level, including Sports Medicine Australia Sydney Conference, ACHPER Biennial Conference and the International Conference of Physical Activity and Sports Science in Hong Kong 2000.

  • Short bursts versus continuous methods of accumulating physical activity in a community setting

Research Summary: This study examined the physiological health effects for adults of gaining the ACSM recommendation of an additional quantity of 30 minutes of almost daily moderate physical activity above the requirements of a normally sedentary lifestyle. Interesting results included the finding that accumulating equivolumes of 10-11 MET-hours of moderate physical activity either by continuous or “short bursts” resulted in small gains in cardio-vascular fitness (5% – 6%) after a training period of 8 weeks. This finding and other metabolic fitness benefits indicate that this area of investigation is rich for subsequent research and manipulation to determine which differential methods of physical activity result in greater program adherence and health benefits.

Publications: These findings were presented at the 6th International Congress of Behavioural Medicine and the abstracts may be found in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, Volume 7, Supplement 1, 2000. The actual references for the presentations are

  • Taylor, L., Cuddihy, T & Macfarlane, D. (2000). A comparison of the health benefits of accumulated and continuous physical activity programs for sedentary adults. International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, Volume 7, Supplement 1, p107.
  • Taylor, L., Cuddihy, T & Macfarlane, D. (2000). Exercise adherence and self-efficacy differences in adults following completion of either an accumulated or continuous physical activity program. International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, Volume 7, Supplement 1, p201.


  • Wellness: monitoring, intervention and outcomes

Reseach Summaries: This work includes the assessment of workplace health education interventions in a variety of contexts. Some of this work is conducted in association with the Queensland Teachers Union Health Society, who are the owners of one intervention package, the Healthtrac package. Healthtrac is a serialised health management program which provides people with information and guidelines on how to improve their health and well-being via personalised letters, self-care booklets, newsletters and a series of guidebooks. Two postgraduate students (one doctoral and another at Masters level) are currently working on extensive data sets in conjunction with Healthtrac.

Other activities under this banner include research into the effects of a specific University coursework unit on aspects of student quality of life, and how such coursework is associated with the capacity to change unwanted and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours.

  • Institution Based Physical Activity Interventions

Reseach Summaries

  1. Skeletal health, physical activity and adolescents (The Stuartholme Project)
  2. Fitness education within school physical education programs
  3. Development of intrinsic motivation towards physical activity
  4. Physical activity in early childhood and its relationship to physiological and biochemical markers of later cardiovascular health, and validation of physical activity questionnaires appropriate to young children.

Each of the areas above has been the subject of research activity by Tom Cuddihy and his postgraduate students. The Stuartholme Project is a longitudinal study supported by grants totalling $45,000 in of a cohort of adolescent girls throughout their 5 years of high school. In this study, the researchers have tracked changes in indicies of growth and development, physical activity patterns, skeletal health as measured by DEXA techniques and intrinsic motivation to be physically. The interest in topics 2 and 3 grew out of his experiences with students in the three levels of schooling where Dr. Cuddihy has taught. His developmental time at Arizona State University was instrumental in these interests. Professors Corbin and Pangrazi were initially mentors and are now collaborators on projects. Project 4 has been derived from his research interest in young children and new technology which can assist in very accurately measuring levels of physical activity. Principally to be used as a vehicle to evaluate patterns of physical activity and how they may be best influenced to the healthy benefit of the children.
Grants: This project has been funded by the University to the extent of $15,000.

  • Physical activity (pa) monitoring and healthy weight

We have worked with researchers on an international project to evaluate the level of pa engaged in as determined by pedometers, by primary school children. The studies examined children (n = 2000) from Australia , Sweden and the USA . Additionally, we measured physical self worth and other subscales from the Child and Youth Physical Self Perception Profile (CY-PSPP) and recorded relationships with indices of healthy weight and level of pa. Other studies have focused on the amount of pa necessary to increase the likelihood of being in the healthy weight range, or the effects of age and gender.

This information has been contributed by Adjunct Associate Professor Tom Cuddihy.


Teaching interests

  • Fitness, health and wellness
  • HPE curriculum: primary and secondary
  • Research methods.
This information has been contributed by Adjunct Associate Professor Tom Cuddihy.



Awards and recognition

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Fellow of the Australian Council of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. (ACHPER)National Vice President of ACHPER from 1999 to 2006