Dr Tracy Kolbe-Alexander

Honorary Associate Professor

School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences


Dr Kolbe-Alexander joined the School of Human Movement Studies in December 2013 as a Research Fellow. She completed her BA (Human Movement Studies Degree) at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa). She then moved to the University of Cape Town (UCT) where she graduated with the BSc (Med) Hons Exercise Science (Biokinetics), Masters in Public Health and PhD degrees.

Her work experience includes 8 years (1996- 2004) at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa where she worked in a variety of clinical and community-based programmes. This included managing the ‘Community Health Intervention Programmes’, which aimed to promote physical activity and health in previously marginalised communities.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2013, she was employed at the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a Senior Lecturer and course co-ordinator for the Biokinetics Honours and Masters degrees. While at UCT, she was also involved in advocating for physical activity initiatives in various sectors, including the government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Research Interests

  • Worksite Health Promotion Programmes
    The focus of Tracy’s research is the role of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases. Much of her research is conducted in the worksite setting, where she is investigating the effectiveness of worksite health promotion programmes on improving employee health status and lifestyle behaviours. She is also interested in the potential benefits of physical activity on functional ability and cognitive function in older adults. In addition, she is part of a research team investigating how the built environment influences habitual levels of physical activity in adults and older adults.

Research Impacts

Much of Dr Kolbe-Alexander's the research conducted between 2004 and 2013 has been in collaboration with South Africa’s largest private healthcare insurer, Discovery Health. The Discovery Vitality product, offers incentives and rewards for health seeking behaviour. As a result, research conducted by the team at the University of Cape Town has influenced much of the product development at Discovery Vitality. The Discovery Risk Related Age, which calculates a health age and compares it to chronological age, is an example of one of the products has been rolled out in their South African and USA based products. The management team at Discovery Health have valued the role of research and science in their product offering, and have subsequently launched a global Vitality Institute.

The Community Health Internvention Programmes (CHIPs) is a physical activity based intervention based in previously marginalised communities in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr Kolbe-Alexander developed the ‘Live it Up’ programme for older adults and measured the effectiveness of a 20 week seated exercise programme. This programme has been running since 1997 and is currently operating in more than 14 communities in the Cape Province, South Africa.

Prof Vicki Lambert and Dr Kolbe-Alexander have established a good relationship with the South African National Department of Health since 2006, when they played a key role in establishing the ‘Vuka South Africa – Move for your health’, initiative. Consequently, they have been the co-authors on the draft National Plan for Physical Activity in South Africa. In addition, they have worked closely with the Western Province Department of Health and are part of their initiative in various progammes, including a pedometer-based intervention with the provincial cabinet members.


  • Master of Public Health, UCT.
  • Bachelor of Science in Medicine (Honours), UCT(ZA)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, UCT(ZA)


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View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy L. and Lambert, Estelle V. (2017). South Africa. Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity Policy and Practice. (pp. 541-556) London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315672779

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision