This month, we talk to A/Prof Belinda Parmenter and Dr Vivian Lee, who have a shared interest in the prevention of non-communicable diseases through physical activity. Their research project funded by the CVMM Theme examined post-partum women with a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and whether wearable activity monitors are effective in increasing physical activity (and therefore reducing long-term risk of disease).

Spotlight On:

Dr Vivian Yejee Lee
Research fellow and conjoint lecturer
The George Institute for Global Health and UNSW

A/Prof Belinda Parmenter
Head of UNSW Lifestyle Clinic and Accredited Exercise Physiologist
University of New South Wales

Can you give us a brief introduction?

Vivian: I am a research fellow with an interest in the prevention of non-communicable diseases, with a particular emphasis on leveraging physical activity. Currently, I’m dedicated to reducing the long-term risk of diseases in postpartum women using a comprehensive approach involving pharmacotherapy and physical activity. My research interests include cardiovascular health, exercise and physical activity, prevention, CALD population, and women’s health.  

Belinda: I am a clinical academic and accredited exercise physiologist with an interest in identifying ways to get people moving and engaging in regular exercise and physical activity. My primary interest is in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Can you describe the research project funded by the CVMM Theme?

Diabetes during pregnancy is an established risk factor for long-term diabetes and heart and blood vessel disease. Increasing physical activity, is an effective way to reduce this risk, however it is often difficult to achieve in the years after childbirth due to conflicting priorities. Wearable activity monitors have been shown to increase physical activity in other populations, but studies in this population are lacking. This study looks to examine whether the use of a wearable activity monitor will be effective in increasing physical activity in these women, while also assessing their barriers, enablers, preferences and experience with wearing these devices.

How did the CVMM Funding support your research?

The grant funded the physical activity component of a 6-month, multi-centre, randomised, feasibility trial aimed to examine the efficacy of pharmacotherapy and physical activity interventions in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in high-risk women postpartum. This study will identify effective preventive pathways for these women at heightened risk.  

We're always looking for a good book to read or show to stream. Any recommendations?

Vivian recommends: “The Mother of All Jobs” by Christine Armstrong (for mums-to-be) and “The Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Belinda recommends: “The Body Keeps the Score” by Besser van der Kolk

The CVMM Collaborative Grants are designed to support new collaborations between scientists and clinicians across disciplines and faculties. These Grants aim to give early and mid-career researchers opportunities to lead and develop innovative projects with evidence of a clear pathway to securing significant, external funding to sustain and build ongoing research.