Gary O’Donovan

Gary O’Donovan

Ph.D. in Sport Science


I am a Professor at the Latin American Brain Health Institute (BrainLat) at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile. I am also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine at Universidad de los Andes in Colombia.

I am an expert in physical activity and health. I have made two outstanding contributions to the literature. First, I was the leading author of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences consensus statement on physical activity and health (Journal of Sports Sciences, 2010, 28, 6, 573-91). This publication has been identified among the most influential publications in the entire field of physical activity and public health (Ramirez Varela et al., Preventive Medicine, 2018, 111, 466-472). Second, our article about the benefits of the ‘weekend warrior’ physical activity pattern was one of the most talked about articles in the world in 2017, with an Altmetric score of 2970 (O’Donovan et al., JAMA Internal Medicine, 2017, 177, 3, 335-342).

While most of my research is about physical activity, I am also interested in the roles of other modifiable risk factors in the primary prevention of chronic conditions. For example, my colleagues and I have investigated associations between alcohol and obesity in the United Kingdom (e.g., O’Donovan et al., Preventive Medicine, 2021, 153, 106811). We have also investigated associations between education and mild cognitive impairment in Colombia (e.g., O’Donovan et al., Scientific Reports, 2020, 10, 1, 17685).

I was born and raised in London in the United Kingdom. My wife and I moved to Medellín in Colombia in 2017. We moved to Santiago in Chile in 2022. We live with our three cats. We’re all concerned about the challenges of increasing urbanisation.

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