Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), asthma, and obesity, lead to the majority of deaths and ill health in Canada and cost Canadians about $60 billion per year. In general, NCDs are caused by poor health behaviours (e.g., a poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, high stress, etc.) and that changing these behaviours seems to reduce NCDs.
The goal of my research is to understand how these behaviours influence CVD and asthma and to develop interventions which improve health behaviours in people. To do this, I conduct studies which help us understand the problem (following people over time to see how health behaviours influence NCDs or laboratory studies which look at ways in which behaviours might change NCDs) and studies which test interventions in people that have an NCD, as well as in people that don't have a NCD, but are at risk of developing one. I am also interested in the ways in which we design studies to try and change behaviours and I have setup a group of international experts, who meet regularly, to agree upon guidelines for researchers to follow to help make their studies better.
Ultimately, my program is trying to make Canadians healthier by helping them improve their lifestyles, such as exercising and eating better, which will reduce their chance of becoming ill or help them get better if they are already sick.