Dr Melody Ding

University of Sydney
Research Field: Public Health, Epidemiology, Health Promotion

Dr Ding works at the intersection of epidemiology, behavioural science and chronic disease prevention. She expanded the research paradigm of lifestyle epidemiology by examining the interactions among lifestyle risk factors in their etiological pathways to NCD, such as identification of the combinations of physical activity, not smoking and active social participation as the strongest predictor for longevity. Her research also links behaviours and anifested health outcomes to their social and environmental contexts, through identifying attributes of urban environments that are conducive to healthy living. She endeavours to connect public health research with sustainability and planetary health. This is evidenced by her work in developing urban health indicators for health and sustainability globally.

A highlight of Dr Ding’s research is her leadership in the 2016 Lancet series on physical activity, where she published the first-ever global estimate for the economic burden of physical inactivity ($53 billion in health care cost and $14 billion in productivity losses) and that the economic cost inversely correlated with a country’s income and disease burden, highlighting the importance of equity in disease prevention. This work has become one of the most frequently cited papers in physical activity and was awarded the Most Impactful Publication in 2016 by American Heart Association.