Associate Professor Hayley Christian

Started at UWA: 1997

Improving children’s physical activity, health and wellbeing through multi-level interventions

What gets me out of bed every morning is the fact I’m always learning and understanding different pieces of the puzzle of health and how prevention and getting it right early in life is key. Associate Professor Hayley Christian

Associate Professor Hayley Christian has more than 18 years’ professional experience in health promotion practice, health promotion research project management and health promotion teaching and research. To help people enjoy good health and wellbeing throughout their lives, Professor Christian’s research focuses on improving children’s physical activity, health and wellbeing through multi-level interventions that are focused on the child, the family, and social and built environments. This includes identifying strategies to create healthy early childhood education and care environments, and investigating how the home and neighbourhood environment shapes children’s health and development.

To make an impact on a wider scale, Professor Christian and her team work closely with government, non-government organisations, professional bodies and the private sector to identify and implement programs and policies to help children establish healthy behaviours early to provide the foundation for lifelong health.

Professor Christian is a Senior Research Fellow and National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow. She leads the PLAYCE (Play Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity) program of research, which is a multidisciplinary team at the School of Population and Global Health who are focused on turning challenges into opportunities to make a positive difference in people’s health.

Qualifications: BSc PhD W.Aust.

Professor Christian’s research areas:

  • physical activity
  • sedentary behaviour
  • obesity
  • child health and development
  • built environment and health
  • health promotion and public health
  • cohort studies
  • interventions
  • quantitative and qualitative research

Current external positions:

  • Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute
  • Associate at NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Healthy, Liveable and Equitable Communities
  • Fellow at ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course
  • Public Health Steering Committee Member at World Universities Network
  • Consensus Committee Member at Commonwealth Department of Health ‘24-hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years’

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New York Active Design Centre Award ‘Excellence Winner’ - RESIDE project’s evaluation of the Liveable Neighbourhood Guidelines, 2017

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2017 UWA Research Excellence and Innovation Award – Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Paper Published in 2015

Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Investigator Award, 2014 and 2016

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2015 UWA Research Excellence and Innovation Awards – Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Papers x 2 Published in 2013

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Australian Health Promotion Association – Ray James Memorial Prize for Excellence and Innovation In Health Promotion Research, 2015

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VicHealth Award for ‘Research into action’ – NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Healthy, Liveable Communities, 2015

NHMRC/National Heart Foundation Early Career Fellowship, 2012-2016

Preventing chronic disease through early intervention




National Health and Medical Research Council, Partnership Project

  • 'Evidence-informed physical activity policy for early childhood education and care'
  • Associate Professor Hayley Christian, Professor Stewart Trost, Associate Professor Michael Rosenberg, Professor Donna Cross, Mr Trevor Shilton, Associate Professor Jasper Schipperijn, Associate Professor Leanne Lester, Dr Gina Trapp

US Human-Animal Bond Research Institute

  • 'The health and developmental benefits of companion animals for young children: Advancing the evidence base'
  • Associate Professor Hayley Christian, Professir Steve Zubrick, Associate Professor Leanne Lester, Ms Liz Wenden


WA Health Promotion Foundation Healthway

  • 'Uni-Active: Developing Healthy Kids'
  • Associate Professor Michael Rosenberg, Ms Amanda Derbyshire, Dr Ashleigh Thornton, Associate Professor Hayley Christian

Worldwide Universities Network WUN

  • 'UWA Led WUN RDF - Communicating Good Health and Wellbeing: Promotion, Advocacy and Resilience'
  • Associate Professor Robert Ian Cover, Professor Loretta Baldassar, Associate Professor Farida Fozdar, Dr Kathryn Attwell, Associate Professor Alison Bartlett, Professor Sandra Carr, Dr Nahal Mavaddat, Associate Professor Hayley Christian


WA Health Promotion Foundation Healthway

  • 'Exploratory Research Grants - Effectiveness of childcare centre programs and environmental upgrades to increase young children’s physical activity'
  • Dr Hayley Christian, Associate Professor Michael Rosenberg, Associate Professor Leanne Lester, Dr Georgina Trapp, Ms Clover Maitland, Dr Ashleigh Thornton

National Heart Foundation

  • ‘National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship’
  • Dr Hayley Christian


WA Health Promotion Foundation Healthway

  • 'Research Project Grant - Supportive childcare environments for physical activity in the early years'
  • Dr Hayley Christian, Associate Professor Michael Rosenberg, Professor Stephen Zubrick, Professor Stewart Trost, Prof Jasper Schipperijn, Ms Clover Maitland, Dr Georgina Trapp, Associate Professor Leanne Lester


  • PLAY Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity and Health Study (PLAYCE)
  • Our PLAYCE study investigates the influence of the childcare, home and neighbourhood physical, social and policy environment on young children’s physical activity, health and development.

  • PLAY Spaces and Environment Interventions for Children’s Physical Activity & Health Study (iPLAYCE)
  • Our iPLAYCE research evaluates the impact of early childhood education and care programs and environments on young children’s physical activity.

  • PLAYCE Policy Project
  • This project will provide our multi-sectorial partners with evidence-informed policy and implementation strategies for creating environments that give Australian children a physically active and healthy start to life.

  • Neighbourhood Environment and Early Child Development Study
  • This research investigates the role of neighbourhood attributes in explaining the variation in early child health and development outcomes in a population census of four- to six-year-olds from the Australian Early Development Census.

  • Green Space and Health Study
  • This research investigates the effect of exposure to green and blue space on youth health. Green spaces, such as parks and nature, provide numerous physical and mental health benefits for users. Green spaces near home provide children and youth with opportunities to play, socially interact and be active.

  • Pets and Health Study
  • This program of research investigates the physical, social and psychological health benefits of pets for children, adults, older adults and the broader community.

Contact Associate Professor Hayley Christian

Professor Christian is available as a PhD, master’s and honours supervisor in most areas of public health and health promotion. Top up scholarships are available for some research projects. Get in touch for more details.