Senior Investigator Scientist
Physical Activity Epidemiology
Left the Unit in 2022
Current work and interests
Dr Katrien Wijndaele’s research focused on the link between inadequate physical activity and prolonged sitting with obesity, diabetes and related disorders. Her primary research interests are in:
- Identifying physical activity and sedentary behaviour characteristics that can modify the risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature mortality
- Developing and using improved/novel methods to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviour, both in terms of measurement as well as characterisation
- Contributing to understanding the drivers, barriers and facilitators of adequate physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels
- Contributing to the development of interventions aimed at changing these behaviours
Katrien left the Unit in December 2022.
Background and experience
After completing an MSc degree in Sports and Movement Sciences, Katrien undertook a PhD examining physical activity and cardio-metabolic disease at Ghent University, Belgium. Following her PhD, Katrien was awarded a postdoctoral research position at the School of Population Health, University of Queensland (Brisbane) in collaboration with the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute (Melbourne), Australia. While at the University of Queensland, Katrien further developed her interest and expertise in the role of sedentary behaviour and physical activity in health and disease.
Katrien joined the MRC Epidemiology Unit (University of Cambridge, UK) in 2007, initially as an MRC Career Development Fellow. Katrien was awarded the Martti J Karvonen Young Investigator Award in 2009. During her time in Cambridge, subsequently as a Research Foundation Flanders Fellow, British Heart Foundation Fellow, and Senior Investigator Scientist, she has expanded her research interests and is now also focusing on investigating the determinants and measurement of sedentary behaviour, physical activity and potential strategies aimed at changing these behaviours.
In addition to her research, Katrien is co-lead and lecturer for the Physical Activity Epidemiology Module of the MPhil in Epidemiology and Public Health course (University of Cambridge). She is Associate Editor for the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Katrien is a member of the International Expert Panel for the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network (SBRN) Education-Related Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines Project. She chaired the Sedentary Behaviour Council of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH; 2016-2020), and was Scientific Committee Lead for Sedentary Behaviour for the 2018 ISPAH Conference (ISPAH). She also lectures at and contributes to the organisation of the biennial International Physical Activity Measurement Seminar.
- Strain T., Wijndaele K., Dempsey P.C., Sharp S.J., Pearce M., Jeon J., Lindsay T., Wareham N., Brage S. Wearable-device-measured physical activity and future health risk. Nature Med. 26: 1385-1391, 2020. PMID: 32807930.
- Strain T., Wijndaele K., Garcia L., Cowan M., Guthold R., Brage S., Bull F. Levels of domain-specific physical activity at work, in the household, for travel and for leisure among 327,789 adults from 104 countries. Br. J. Sports Med. 54:1488-1497, 2020. PMID: 33239355
- Ekelund U., Tarp J., Fagerland M.W., Steene-Johannessen J., Hansen B.H., Jefferis B.J., Whincup P., Diaz K.M., Hooker S.P., Howard V.J., Chernofsky A., Larson M.G., Spartano N.L., Ramachandran V.S., Dohrn I.M., Hagströmer M., Edwardson C.L., Yates T., Shiroma E.J., Dempsey P.C., Wijndaele K., Anderssen S.A., Lee I.M. The joint associations of accelerometer measured physical activity and sedentary time with all-cause mortality: A harmonized meta-analysis in more than 44,000 middle-aged and older individuals. Br. J. Sports Med. 54:1499-1506, 2020. PMID: 33239356
- Dempsey P.C., Strain T., Khaw K.T., Wareham N.J., Brage S., Wijndaele K. Prospective associations of accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time with incident cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality. Circulation (2020) 141: 1113-1115. PMID: 32223676
- Patterson R, McNamara E, Tainio M, de Sá TH, Smith AD, Sharp SJ, Edwards P, Woodcock J, Brage S, Wijndaele K. Sedentary behaviour and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and incident type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose response meta-analysis. European Journal of Epidemiology (2018) PMID:29589226
- Wijndaele K, Sharp SJ, Wareham NJ, Brage S. Mortality Risk Reductions from Substituting Screen Time by Discretionary Activities. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2017) 49(6):1111-1119. PMID: 28106621
- Wijndaele K, Healy GN. Sitting and chronic disease: where do we go from here? Diabetologia (2016) 59:688-691. PMID: 26850177
- Wijndaele K, Westgate K, Stephens SK, Blair SN, Bull FC, Chastin SF, Dunstan DW, Ekelund U, Esliger DW, Freedson PS, Granat MH, Matthews CE, Owen N, Rowlands AV, Sherar SB, Tremblay MS, Troiano RP, Brage S, Healy GN. Utilization and harmonization of adult accelerometry data: review and expert consensus. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2015) PMID: 25785929
- Wijndaele K, Orrow G, Ekelund U, Sharp SJ, Brage S, Griffin SJ, Simmons RK. Increasing objectively measured sedentary time increases clustered cardio-metabolic risk: a 6 year analysis of the ProActive study. Diabetologia (2014) 57:305-312.
- Wijndaele K, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Godino JG, Lynch BM, Griffin SJ, Westgate K, Brage S. Reliability and validity of a domain-specific last-7-day sedentary time questionnaire. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2013) PMID: 24492633
- Wijndaele K, Brage S, Besson H, Khaw KT, Sharp SJ, Luben R, Wareham NJ, Ekelund U. Television viewing time independently predicts all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: the EPIC Norfolk Study. International Journal of Epidemiology. (2011) 40:1:150-159.
- Wijndaele K, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Barnett AG, Salmon J, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, Owen N. Increased cardio-metabolic risk is associated with increased with increased TV viewing time. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2010) 42:1511-1518.
- Helmerhorst HJF, Wijndaele K, Brage S, Wareham NJ, Ekelund U. Objectively measured sedentary time predicts insulin resistance, independent of moderate and vigorous physical activity. Diabetes (2009) 58:1776-1779.
- Healy GN, Wijndaele K, Dunstan DW, Shaw JE, Salmon J, Zimmet PZ, Owen N. Objectively measured sedentary time, physical activity and metabolic risk: the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab). Diabetes Care (2008) 31(2):369-371.
- Wijndaele K, Beunen G, Duvigneaud N, Matton L, Duquet W, Thomis M, Lefevre J, Philippaerts RM. A continuous metabolic syndrome risk score: utility for epidemiological analyses. Diabetes Care (2006) 29:2329.