Sleep, obesity and heart health

Association of sleep, obesity and cardiometabolic health across the life course from childhood

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Cardiometabolic disease (cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, with premature deaths preventable. Much of the prevention effort is focused on lifestyle modification and management of clinical risk factors in older adults but risk factors emerge as early as childhood, such as sleep-related characteristics including its duration, quality, and timing. Adequate sleep is important for children's healthy growth, learning and development. Insufficient sleep has been linked to a range of detrimental physical and psychosocial health problems. Over the past century, there have been rapid declines in the sleep duration among children and adolescents, with over half of middle school students and approximately three quarters of high school students not getting the recommended amount of sleep.

The association of sleep with cardiometabolic health outcomes has been well established among adults and pooled evidence supported a U-shaped relationship with both short and long duration of sleep were associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic health. There have been very few longitudinal studies examining the long-term association of sleep, obesity and cardiometabolic health across the life course frame from childhood. The Childhood Determinants of Adult Health (CDAH) study commenced across Australia in 1985 with a representative sample of 8,498 children aged 7-15 years from 109 schools. Using data from repeated measures of lifestyle, physical characteristics and mental health collected since childhood, the study's long-term aim is to determine the contribution of childhood factors to the risk of developing cardiometabolic disease.

Utilising CDAH data, this project aims to address the aforementioned research gap by answering the following questions: 1. How do sleep characteristics vary across different life periods including childhood, young and mid-adulthood? 2. What is the lifecourse association between sleep and obesity? 3. What is the association of sleep from childhood to mid-adulthood with cardiometabolic health (e.g. prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, carotid plaque and elasticity, cardiac structure and function) in mid-adulthood?

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jing Tian


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience conducting literature reviews
  • Experience in epidemiological, clinical, or related research
  • Experience in conducting statistical analyses using a statistical package such as Stata, SPSS or R
  • Previous scientific publications in a related field.

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Jing Tian to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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