Human Biology of Movement Behaviours

11-13 September 2024

Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Portugal

Human Biology of Movement Behaviours

The SSHB’s annual conference returns to discuss the latest research and future directions on the 24-hour movement behaviours.

Registrations open until 30th of June!


Dear colleagues,

The importance of regular physical activity for the wellbeing and healthy growth and development of humans has long been established, and increasing physical activity has long been a target of policies and interventions worldwide. But for individuals to increase time spent doing physical activity, it requires a clear trade-off: this additional time being physically active has to come from time spent doing other activities within the day, sedentary behaviour, or sleep (Dumuid, Olds & Sawyer, 2021, Lancet). Researchers have increasingly included sedentary behaviour in analysis of physical activity, many times attempting to disentangle the potential individual effects of each on a given outcome. However, sleep – an essential component of health and the only other possible movement behaviour – is often overlooked (Dumuid, Olds & Sawyer, 2021, Lancet).


In the last few years, there has been a rapidly growing recognition of 1) this paradigm of each day containing a finite 24h within which humans can be doing one of 3 movement behaviours – i.e., physical activity, sedentary behaviour or sleep –, where  a change in one can only be done at the expense of change in one or both the other movement behaviours, and that 2) changing sedentary behaviour or sleep could potentially have similar benefits to changing physical activity (Dumuid, Olds & Sawyer, 2021, Lancet). This has led to some big shifts within the research and policy landscapes:

  • from the application of novel data analysis methods (e.g., isotemporal substitution) or refocusing intervention goals on achieving a healthier balance between the 3 behaviours rather than just achieving a physical activity guideline threshold (Dumuid, Olds & Sawyer, 2021, Lancet), which can be difficult for some individuals (e.g., people with disabilities and cancer patients);
  • to updates in guidelines across the world, with many now mentioning how individuals should limit their sedentary behaviours and how much time they should spend sleeping for optimising their health and wellbeing (e.g., World Health Organisation’s (WHO) under 5’s guidelines).


It was with this in mind that we chose “The Human Biology of Movement Behaviours” as the theme for the SSHB’s annual conference. Within this, we are inviting submissions of research focusing on:

  • The methods for the measurement or analysis of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and/or sleep;
  • Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep prevalence and trends;
  • The factors that influence physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and/or sleep;
  • The influence of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and/or sleep on human health, growth and development.

The conference aims to be an interdisciplinary meeting with a maximum of 200 participants, and will include a mixture of invited lectures and presentations (oral and poster) from submitted abstracts. Wanting to actively promote and support academics from low-and middle-income countries and in early career stages, the Society will grant one New Investigator Award, one Low- and Middle-Income Investigator Award, and one Best Student Poster Award – see the abstract submission form for further details and eligibility criteria.

In addition, this will be a parent/carer-friendly conference: we are very aware that sometimes caring demands/commitments can be a barrier for researchers to submit and present their work at scientific conferences (some of us from first hand experience!). If you would like to submit your work to this conference but are have perhaps decided not to because of , for example, having to take care of a young child or because you are still breastfeeding your baby – the organising committee are happy to help by looking after your child/baby during your presentation slot (and some other agreed presentations of special interest to you, as possible with our human resources), and you are very welcome to bring your baby along and breastfeed within the venue while the conference is occurring.


We look forward to welcoming you in Porto in 2024!


The organising committee:

Dr Silvia Costa, Dr Eduardo Guimarães, Dr Sara Pereira, Dr Carla Santos



Abstract submission now closed.

For registration information – click here

For location and accommodation information – click here

For information about the conference dinner – click here

Confirmed invited speakers:

Prof Peter Katzmarzyk, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, USA

Prof. Katzmarzyk is Professor and Associate Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center where he holds the Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes. Prof. Katzmarzyk is an internationally recognized leader in the field of physical activity and obesity, with a special emphasis on pediatrics and ethnic health disparities. He has over two decades of experience in conducting large clinical and population-based studies in children and adults. Prof. Katzmarzyk has a special interest in global health and has a record of building research capacity in physical activity and obesity research in developing countries.

He has published his research in more than 625 scholarly journals and books, and is Associate Editor-in-Chief for Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Associate Editor for American Journal of Human Biology, and editorial board member for Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders and Pediatric Exercise Science. In addition to his research, Prof. Katzmarzyk plays a leading role in national health advocacy initiatives. He chaired the Research Advisory Committee for the U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth for the Physical Activity Alliance between 2013-2022. He also served on the 2018 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization Guideline Development Group for the WHO 2020 Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Youth, Adults and Older Adults. In 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, Prof. Katzmarzyk was recognized as a highly cited researcher by the Web of Science.

Title of invited presentation: “Human movement behaviours and obesity: Latest insights.


Prof Lauren Sherar, Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Prof. Lauren Sherar is a Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom (UK). She has expertise in accelerometer assessment of movement behaviours, data harmonisation, interventions and measuring growth and development of children.

Prof. Sherar has over 140 publication and 20 years’ experience of conducting research and developing and evaluating interventions in schools, communities, and clinical settings with a particular focus on the physical activity and health of children and adolescents. She is passionate about getting research into practice and policy and is on the working groups for the UK’s Children’s Physical Activity Report Card and the Physical Activity Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Young People. She holds an Honorary Academic Appointment with the Government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID; formerly Public Health England), and is a collaborator in several international research consortia and longitudinal studies such as the Saskatchewan Growth and Development Study and the International Children’s Accelerometry Database (for which she is a part of the executive committee).

Title of invited presentation: “How can accelerometry pooling projects advance our understanding of 24-hour behaviours and guideline compliance in youth?


Dr Pedro Saint-Maurice, The Champalimaud Foundation , Portugal

Dr Pedro Saint-Maurice has recently joined the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown (Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal) as an investigator, after several years as a Research Fellow at the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics. He received a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Iowa State University, Ames, in 2013, and his dissertation work examined the potential of accelerometry for calibrating physical activity questionnaires. He has led several studies to understand the measurement properties of both accelerometers and physical activity questionnaires, and was also involved in the NCI-funded project, The Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) Study.

Dr. Saint-Maurice's work has focused on evaluating the impact of physical activity on health during midlife (age 40-60) by examining activity duration patterns (i.e., 10+ minutes at-a-time vs. any duration), intensity (i.e., light vs. moderate to vigorous activity), and timing (i.e., age at physical activity initiation), the relationship between daily step count and stepping intensity (steps/minute) with mortality in both healthy adults and adults with chronic conditions, and using accelerometry data to estimate the public health impact of small increases in physical activity across the U.S. adult population. More recently, he has investigated how profiles of sleep and ambulatory movement throughout the day might be associated with cancer risk and mortality, and he will be focusing on the benefits of physical activity and sleep among adults diagnosed with cancer in his new position at the Champalimaud Foundation.

Title of invited presentation: “Sleep and cancer risk: Evidence from observational studies.


Dr Asmaa El Hamdouchi, National Centre for Nuclear Energy, Morocco

Dr Asmaa El Hamdouchi holds a PhD in Nutrition from Ibn Tofail University (Morocco) and currently works at Morroco’s National Centre for Nuclear Energy. Her research interests span from child malnutrition to the measurement and variability of body composition and energy expenditure across the human life course, and the measurement and surveillance of children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviours across the globe, being involved in several international collaborations and initiatives such as the Global Observatory for Physical Activity (GoPA!) and the International Surveillance Study of 24h Movement Behaviours in the Early Years (SUNRISE-study).

She has extensive experience in the use of doubly-labelled water for measuring the energy expenditure and body composition in children and adults (including for developing and validating new assessment tools), and using accelerometers to measure the physical activity and sedentary behaviour habits of children and adolescents. Dr El Hamdouchi is a currently a member of the steering committee for the SUNRISE-study and was the lead investigator for its pilot study in Morocco, which will be the focus of her presentation.

Title of invited presentation: “The SUNRISE Study – Morocco pilot study results, the challenges and how they were overcome.


Prof Adam Baxter-Jones, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Prof. Adam Baxter-Jones has published over 200 articles related to childhood growth and development. He is an expert in the design and data analysis of longitudinal growth studies. He graduated from the New University of Ulster, Northern Ireland in 1985 with B.Sc. (Hons.) in Biology. He initially trained as a respiratory physiologist in the Lung Function Unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London UK (1985 to 1987) before taking up a position as an exercise physiologist on a longitudinal study of the growth and development of elite young athletes (The TOYA Study – 1987-1992), Institute of Child Health, University London. Whilst there he was trained as an auxologist in the lab of Dr JM Tanners, the world’s preeminent expert in children’s growth and development. In 1992 he relocated to the Department of Child Health, University of Aberdeen, UK and in 1995 was awarded a PhD on the physical effects of systematic training during puberty and adolescence. As a Senior Research Fellow in Child Health, at the University of Aberdeen, he continued to work in childhood growth and development, specifically in pediatric respiratory disease. Prof. Baxter-Jones relocated to Canada in 2000 and is currently the Associate Provost Health and Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. He is the director of a number of ongoing longitudinal studies of childhood growth and development: including the Saskatchewan Growth and Development Study (SGDS)(1964-2011) and the Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study (BMAS) (1991-2018). These two world renowned studies of childhood growth and development have produced over 100 peer reviewed articles and numerous PhD and MSc dissertations. He is also involved in the development of newly emerging longitudinal studies in a variety of populations including young athletes, children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and pregnancy studies investigating intrauterine antecedents of adult disease. 

Title of invited presentation: “Effects of Growth and Development on Physical Performance During Adolescence.


Dr Clarice Lucena Martins, Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil

Dr Clarice Martins is an Associate Professor at Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil, and researcher as University of Porto, Portugal. She has a background in Physical Education, and obtained her PhD in Physical Activity and Health in 2009 from the University of Porto. She is member of the actual direct board of the Brazilian Society of Physical Activity and Health activity and Health. Dr Martins' research interests are focused in the contribution of movement behaviours during the early years for child´s health and development, with a special focus on low-income settings. She participated in the process of devising physical activity guidelines for the Brazilian population (chapter for children aged under 6), is part of the International Society of Behaviour Nutrition and Physical Activity “Early Care and Education” special interest group, and is part of the group of the International Study of Movement Behaviours in the Early Years (SUNRISE) in Brazil. She has been leading experimental studies in preschool settings, in order to understand the non-linear interactions between motor, physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development in low-income Brazilian children, using advanced statistical methods such as isotemporal substitution to advance the knowledge in that area.

Title of invited presentation: “Exploring an integral perspective for the interaction between motor, cognitive and socio-emotional domains of development in low-income Brazilian children


Prof Tim Lightfoot, Texas A & M University, USA

Prof. J. Timothy Lightfoot has recently retired from Texas A&M University, where he was Debbie and Mike Hilliard Endowed Professor of Kinesiology and the Executive Director of the Sydney and JL Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance. Dr. Lightfoot received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from University of Louisiana Monroe and his doctorate from the University of Tennessee. He completed a research consultantship with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Kennedy Space Center in the Biomedical Laboratory and then a 3-year NIH postdoctoral research fellowship in the Division of Physiology at Johns Hopkins University. Subsequently, Prof. Lightfoot was an Assistant and Associate Professor at Florida Atlantic University for 6, and a Professor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte for 14 years (9 of which as Chair of the department). He is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, an ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist, a Past-President of the Southeast Regional Chapter of the ACSM, and a past member of the Board of Trustees for the ACSM.

Prof. Lightfoot has published over 85 scientific, peer-reviewed articles on the genetics of daily physical activity and exercise endurance, as well as the physiological response to high-G exposure and haemorrhage. He has held ≈ $3 million in external funding from the NIH and Department of Defense to conduct research on the genetics of physical activity, and his research has been featured in numerous general media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times,, CNN, MSNBC, and the Australian National Radio. His lab also has a unique interest in the physiological responses of athletes in a variety of non-traditional venues such as auto racing and in musicians.

Title of invited presentation: “Activity levels: Can we blame our parents?


Prof Valerie Carson, University of Alberta, Canada

Professor Valerie Carson is a behavioural epidemiologist in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Canada. Her research primarily focuses on healthy development, measurement, and important factors related to physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep in children and how best to intervene to promote a healthy balance of these behaviours. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers on this topic. Professor Carson works with governments, public health agencies, pediatricians, schools, child care providers, and parents to promote healthy physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep habits that support optimal health throughout life. Of note, her work and leadership has directly contributed to national and international public health guidelines regarding these health behaviours. The significant impact of her work on research, practice, and policy has been recognized through her 2020 induction into the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. She has also been recognised internationally as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher for the past five years. 

Title of invited presentation: "The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years: Development, Adherence, and Next Steps"



Prof José Maia, University of Porto, Portugal

Dr José Maia is a Full Professor in Motor Development and a member of CIFI2D at the Faculty of Sport, University of Porto. His extensive work and research focus is on human growth, biological maturation, motor development and performance, and health-related behaviours within different socio-cultural settings, having undertaken research in countries from low- to high-income such as Portugal, Mozambique, Brazil, Thailand and Peru.

Dr José Maia has published more than 300 papers related to physical growth, biological maturation, physical performance and health-related behaviours. He was involved in several research projects in different countries, namely human biological variability conducted in Mozambique, the ISCOLE (conducted in 12 countries across the globe), the Peruvian health and optimistic study, the Peruvian sibling study on growth and health, the Portuguese family study, and the INEX (in search of excellence in sports). He is now involved in a series of funded research projects (REACT, RUSH, ExPertS and Wake-up) together with a team of international renowned scholars.

Title of invited presentation: “The RUSH project: return to school after COVID-19 - the key roles of family, school and communities on children growth and motor development


Dr Kathryn Hesketh, MRC Epidemiology Unit, UK

Dr Kathryn Hesketh is a Senior Research Fellow in Behavioural Epidemiology at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge (UK). Dr Hesketh completed her MPhil and PhD in Epidemiology at the MRC Epidemiology Unit and CEDAR (University of Cambridge), before joining UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UCL GOS ICH) as a Research Associate, leading a project to explore clustering of health conditions and health behaviours using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. She was awarded a Wellcome Fellowship in 2015, working as a Senior Research Associate at UCL GOS ICH, and subsequently moving back the MRC Epidemiology Unit in 2021. Dr Hesketh's work, with a strong Maternal and Child Health focus, provides evidence to help promote activity behaviours in families with young children. Specifically, it explores how activity behaviours change during the transition to parenthood, how activity behaviours develop during the preschool period and how parent-child activity levels are linked.

Title of invited presentation: “Promoting physical activity during pregnancy: the good, the bad, and the family


Dr Andy Daly-Smith, University of Bradford, UK

Dr Andy Daly-Smith is a reader in physical activity and healthy childhood. He leads the Wolfson centre for applied research health childhood theme. His research focuses on the design, development and evaluation of behaviour change interventions for physical activity and health in children. He is heavily involved in the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research and Born in Bradford as a Research Director on the Sport England funded Join Us: Move Play programme. Recently, Andy led the co-development of the first UK-based whole-school physical activity framework with 50 regional, national and international stakeholders. The model has been widely adopted across the UK to drive systems change for health and physical activity within schools. 

Title of invited presentation: “Creating effective whole-school approaches to physical activity – Addressing behaviour at all system levels



*NOTE - current titles of invited presentations are provisional and, thus, subject to change before the conference.

We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies.