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Elaine Murtagh

BA Hons, DIS, PGCE, PhD (University of Ulster), Specialist Dip (UL)

Lecturer in Physical Education
Department of Arts Education and Physical Education
Room R.109
Tel: +353 (0)61 204569
Email: elaine.murtagh@mic.ul.ie

Twitter: @ElaineMurtagh


Research interests:
• Understanding and promoting physical activity in children and adults
• Effects of exercise on cardiovascular disease risk
• Patterns and levels of physical activity in primary school children


Click here for a link to Google Scholar profile


Journal Articles:

Morgan P, Young M, Lloyd A, Wang M, Eather N, Miller D, Murtagh E, Barnes A, Pagoto, S et al (in press) Involvement of Fathers in Pediatric Obesity Treatment and Prevention Trials: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics


McMullen J, Martin R, Jones J, Murtagh EM (2016) Moving to Learn Ireland - Classroom teachers' experiences of movement integration Teaching and Teacher Education 60: 321-330


Hegarty LM, Mair JL, Kirhy, K, Murtagh EM, Murphy MH et al (2016) School-based interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in children: A systematic review. AIMS Public Health 3 (3): 520-541


NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (2016) Global Burden of Metabolic Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases Collaborating Group. A century of trends in adult human height. eLife 2016;5:e13410


Murtagh EM, Dempster M, Murphy MH. (2016) Determinants of uptake and maintenance of active commuting to school Health and Place, 40,9-14


NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (2016) Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19.2 million participants. The Lancet, 387(10026): 1377-1396.


Drummy C, Murtagh EM, McKee DP, Breslin G, Davison GW,Murphy MH. (2016) The effect of a classroom activity-break on physical activity levels and adiposity in primary school children. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. 52(7), 745-749.


Martin R and Murtagh EM (2015) Preliminary findings of Active Classrooms: An intervention to increase physical activity levels of primary school children during class time. Teaching and Teacher Education. 2015;52:113-127


Murtagh EM, Murphy MH, Murphy NM, Woods, C Nevill AM, Lane A (2015) Prevalence and Correlates of Physical Inactivity in Community-Dwelling Older Adults in Ireland. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0118293. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118293


Martin, R. & Murtagh, E. M. (2015) An intervention to improve the physical activity levels of children: Design and rationale of the ‘Active Classrooms’ cluster randomised controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 41, 180-191.


Murtagh, E.M., Nichols, L., Mohammed, M.A., Holder, R., Nevill, A.M., Murphy, M.H. (2015) The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Prev. Med. 72:34-43.


DM Harrington, S Belton, T Coppinger, M Cullen, A Donnelly, K Dowd, T Keating, R Layte, M Murphy, N Murphy, E Murtagh & C Woods (2014). Results From Ireland’s 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 11(Supp 1), S63-S68.

D McMinn, D Rowe, S Murtagh, N Nelson, I Čuk,, A Atiković, M Peček, G Breslin, EM Murtagh & MH Murphy (2014). Psychosocial factors related to children’s active school travel: A comparison of two European regions. International Journal of Exercise Science, 7(1), 9.


A Kenny, E Mitchell, D Ní Chróinín, E Vaughan & E Murtagh (2014). ‘In their shoes’: exploring a modified approach to peer observation of teaching in a university setting. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(2), 218-229.


E Mitchell, D Ní Chróinín, A Kenny, E Vaughan and E Murtagh (2013) Problematising the 'practical' to negotiate pedagogy in initial teacher education. Irish Educational Studies, 32 (2): 251-267


E Murtagh, M Mulvihill M, O Markey (2013) Bizzy Break! The effect of a classroom-based activity break on in-school physical activity levels of primary school children. Pediatric Exercise Science, 25: 300-307.


D Ní Chróinín, E Murtagh and R Bowles (2012) Flying the ‘Active School Flag’: Physical activity promotion through self-evaluation in primary schools in Ireland. Irish Educational Studies, 31(3):281-296


DP McKee, EM Murtagh, CAG Boreham, AM Nevill and MH Murphy (2012) Seasonal and Annual Variation in Young Children’s Physical Activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 44(7):1318-1324


P Kelly, M Murphy, P Oja, EM Murtagh & C Foster (2011) Estimates of the number of people in England who attain or exceed vigorous intensity exercise by walking at 3 mph. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29:15, 1629-1634


EM Murtagh & MH Murphy (2011) Active travel to school and physical activity levels of Irish primary school children. Pediatric Exercise Science, 23(2): 230-236


MH Murphy, AM McNeilly and EM Murtagh (2010) Physical Activity Prescription for Public Health. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society; 69 (1): 178-184


EM Murtagh, MH Murphy and J Boone-Heinonen (2010) Walking – the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Current Opinion in Cardiology; 25: 490-496


MH Murphy, SN Blair and EM Murtagh (2009) Accumulated versus Continuous Exercise for Health Benefit: A Review of Empirical Studies. Sports Medicine; 39(1): 29-43


MH Murphy, AM Nevill, EM Murtagh and RL Holder (2007) The effect of walking on fitness, fatness and resting blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Preventive Medicine; 44(5): 377-385


MH Murphy, EM Murtagh, CAG Boreham, LG Hare and AM Nevill (2006) The effect of a worksite based walking programme on cardiovascular risk in previously sedentary civil servants. BMC Public Health; 6(1): 136-143


A Anderson, MH Murphy, E Murtagh and A Nevill (2006) An 8-week randomized controlled trial on the effects of brisk walking, and brisk walking with abdominal electrical muscle stimulation on anthropometric, body composition, and self-perception measures in sedentary adult women. Psychology of Sport & Exercise; 7(5):437-451


EM Murtagh, CAG Boreham, A Nevill, G Davison, T Trinick, E Duly, M Al-Agnaf and MH Murphy (2005) Acute Responses of Inflammatory Markers of Cardiovascular Disease Risk to a Single Walking Session. Journal of Physical Activity & Health; 2(3): 324-332


EM Murtagh, CAG Boreham, A Nevill, LG Hare and MH Murphy (2005) The effects of 60 minutes of brisk walking per week, accumulated in two different patterns, on cardiovascular risk. Preventive Medicine; 41(1): 92-97


EM Murtagh, CAG Boreham and MH Murphy (2002) Speed and Exercise Intensity of Recreational Walkers. Preventive Medicine; 35(4): 397-400


Book chapters:
Murphy M.H., and Murtagh E.M. (2013) Physical Activity: Beneficial Effects. In: Caballero B. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition, third edition, Volume 4, pp. 33-38. Waltham, MA: Academic Press.


Other publications:
Murtagh EM, Archibald K, Doherty A, Mutrie N, Breslin G, Lambe B, McAdam C, McNeilly A and Murphy MH (2015) The effect of brief advice about physical activity recommendations on moderate-to-vigorous activity of inactive adults. National Institute of Health Sciences Research Bulletin, 7(2):60


EM Murtagh, MH Murphy, N Murphy, C Woods and A Lane (2014) Stay Active – the physical activity, ageing and health study. Final Report. Mary Immaculate College and the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland


Murtagh, E., Davis, J., Davison, G., Boreham, C., Trinick, T., Duly, E., Nevill, A. M. & Murphy, M. (2013) The Effect of a 12 Week Walking Intervention on Inflammatory Markers of Cardiovascular Risk. National Institute of Health Sciences Research Bulletin, 6(4):5


A O’Connor, C Mulcahy, D Ní Chróinín and E Murtagh (2011) Assessment tools in primary physical education: enhancing teaching and learning. Primary Physical Education Matters 6(1): xviii-xx


D Ní Chróinín and E Murtagh (2009) Primary teachers with expertise in PE: A win win for all? InTouch; Issue 106, October: 49-51


Recent Conference Abstracts:


Murtagh EM, Martin R, McMullen, J. Moving to Learn Ireland: a movement integration programme in primary schools. Annual Conference of HEPA Europe (European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity), Belfast, 28 - 30 September 2016


Murtagh E, Morgan PJ, Lubans DR, Barnes AT, McMullen J. Mothers and Teenage Daughters Walking to Health: a behavioural analysis using the “Capability, Opportunity, Motivation – Behaviour” (COM-B) model. Annual Conference of HEPA Europe (European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity), Belfast, 28 - 30 September 2016


Murtagh EM, Nichols, Mohammed M, Holder L, Nevill A, Murphy M. What is the effect of walking on cardiovascular disease risk? Evidence from 30 years of randomised control trials Symposium title: Walking to physical and mental health: latest evidence and next steps. Annual Conference of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Edinburgh: 3rd – 6th June 2015


Murtagh EM. Physical Activity, Ageing and Health. Symposium title: Keeping Active for Better Ageing. Annual Congress of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics. Dublin: 23rd – 26th April 2015


Murtagh EM, Nichols L, Mohammed MA, Holder R, Nevill AM, Murphy MH. Walking to improve cardiovascular health: a meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Public Health Science: A National Conference Dedicated to New Research in UK Public. Glasgow: 19th Nov 2014


EM Murtagh, L Nichols, MA Mohammed, R Holder, AM Nevill, MH Murphy (2014) Walking to improve cardiovascular health: a meta-analysis of randomised control trials. UK Public Health Science Conference. Glasgow: 19th Nov. Published in The Lancet. 2014;384:S54.


EM Murtagh, MH Murphy, N Murphy, C Woods and A Lane (2014) Correlates of physical inactivity in community-dwelling older adults in Ireland. 5th conference of HEPA Europe. Zurich, 27th – 29th Aug


E Murtagh, M Dempster, M Murphy (2014) Active commuting to school: influencing factors for children living within one mile of school. PEPAYS-Ireland Annual Research Forum. Waterford. 5th – 6th June.


R Martin and E Murtagh (2014) The active classrooms study protocol: An Intervention to increase the physical activity levels of children using physically active methodologies. PEPAYS-Ireland Annual Research Forum. Waterford. 5th – 6th June.


D Harrington, D Hegarty & E Murtagh (2014) Contribution of after-school MVPA to overall MVPA in a sample of Irish school-children. Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children, Toronto. 19th – 22nd May


R Bowles, E Murtagh & D NíChróinín (2014) What makes the Flag fly? Understanding the process of physical activity promotion through the 'Active School Flag' initiative in Irish elementary schools. Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children. Toronto, 19th – 22nd May


Current PhD supervision

Sedentary behaviour in primary schoolchildren – Lynda Hegarty (University of Ulster); 2014 – present.

Active Classrooms: An intervention to increase the physical activity levels of primary school children - Rosemarie Martin; 2012 – present.

Moving in school: physical activity promotion in the primary school setting - Deirdre Hegarty (funded by MIC Departmental Assistantship); 2011 – present.


• International Society for Physical Activity and Public Health
• International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
• Gymnastics Ireland
• Colleges of Education Physical Education Consortium


Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel: +35361 204300