Position: Associate Professor
Title/Qualifications: Ph.D,ISAK 2
Department: Physical Education, Exercise And Sport Science
Area of Specialization: Exercise and Sport Science
Contact Address:
P.O. Box 43844-00100
Nairobi – Kenya
Telephone: +254-02-8710901 Ext.3096
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 Biography

Professor Vincent O. Onywera is a member of staff at Kenyatta University, Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sports Science. He has a Bachelor of Education (Honors) in Physical and Health Education from Kenyatta University. His graduate training was from the same University where he obtained his M.Ed (Physical and Health Education). He later completed his PhD (Exercise and Sports Science) where his research focus was on the role of genetics, nutrition and sociocultural factors in explaining the phenomenon performance of Kenyan middle and distance runners.  He is a Physical Activity and Active Transport Researcher with extensive national and international research networks. Vincent has worked as the Director of the Center for International Programmes and Collaboration at Kenyatta University and is currently the Registrar in-charge of Research, Innovation and Outreach at Kenyatta University. He volunteers his time working at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Academy at Kenyatta University and was instrumental in the establishment of a Kenyatta University Sports Complex complete with a stadium and recreation centre currently under construction. Vincent has published over 160 publications comprising 120 articles in refereed journals, 3 book chapters, 4 conference proceedings, and 35 conference abstracts. He has secured over Ksh. 150,000,000 (Ksh.150 million) worth of research and development grants from various international funding agencies. Vincent is involved in a number of national, regional and international academic endevours aimed at capacity building, surveillance and research focusing on healthy active living in the greater Eastern Africa and Great Lakes Region (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudan) and beyond. He is/was involved in various research endeavors and collaborations such as:

  1. The Kenya healthy diet and active Lifestyle Infrastructure for the Next generation (Kenya-LINX). The project aims at integrating social, exercise and health sciences, education and engineering disciplines to quantify the features and quality of physical activity for health and wellness.
  2. Building higher education and research capacity to address the physical activity and nutrition transition in Kenya: the Kenya-Finland education and research alliance (KENFIN-EDURA).
  3. Assessment of physical activity and active transport among school children in Eastern, Western and Southern Regions of Africa: The case of Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria. This is a 3 year IDRC funded research project.(The PAAT Study).
  4. The Kenyan International Development Study- Canadian Activity Needs (KIDS-CAN) Research Alliance. This is an alliance that brings together two countries (Kenya and Canada) to fight childhood obesity and promote physical activity.
  5. The International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment (ISCOLE) Research Group whose aim is to is to determine the relationship between lifestyle characteristics and obesity in a large multi-national study of children, and to investigate the influence of behavioural settings, and physical, social and policy environments on the observed relationships from over 14 countries from six major regions of the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Pacific)
  6. The African Higher Education Leadership in Advancing Inclusive Innovation for Development project (AHEAD). A partnership between 4 HEIs from Europe (Romania, Poland, UK, and Italy), 1 SME from Bulgaria, 5 HEIs from Kenya, 2 HEIs from Tanzania and 3 HEIs from Uganda. The project seeksto enhance the management, governance, teaching, research and evaluation capacities of Partner Country HEIs in view of enabling them to implement the knowledge triangle and better integrate their research, education and innovation functions in support of innovation for sustainable development and inclusive growth.
  7. The Knowledge, Integration and Transparency in Education (KITE) project. A capacity building project funded by the European union to support staff and student academic mobility in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries of Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Burundi, Kenya, Namibia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Gambia, Cape Verde, Senegal, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Coordinated by Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.
  8. The Canada and Mexico Battling Childhood Obesity (CAMBIO) Research Group which was a multidisciplinary, international network of investigators participating in a project to enhance research capacity in the field of Childhood Obesity;

Vincent is a member of several professional bodies such the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE); American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), International Physical Activity and the Environment Network (IPEN); International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance (ICHPER·SD) Research; Canadian Obesity Network; Africa Association of Health, PE, Recreation, Sport and Dance-(AAHPERSD); East Africa Association of Health, PE, Recreation, Sport and Dance- (EAAHPERSD); Kenya Association of Health, PE, Recreation, Sport and Dance- (KASHPESD) just to mention a few. He currently is a peer reviewer for many international journals and serves on a number of Kenyatta University Committees and sub-committees. Vincent is a mentor, academic advisor and supervisor to several undergraduate and graduate students within the Eastern African Region and beyond. He is happily married to Mary and they are blessed with three children: Fidel (20 years), Meeghan (13 years) and Meresa (7 years).

Research Interests:

  • Physical Activity and active transportation for health and well-being
  • Kinanthropometry
  • The remarkable performance of Kenyan runners
  • Fitness Testing and Exercise prescription for various populations

Research Publications:

  • Esther Anono, Hanna Walsh, Noora Kanerva, David Mubasu, Victor Mubasu, Victor Okoth, Bill Clinton, Aliisa Hyvonen, Sophie Ochola, Maijaliisa Erkkola, Vincent Onywera, Mikael Fogelholm, “Photographic Food Atlas for Kenyan Adolescents (9-14 years). KENFIN-EDURA Project. 2018Onywera VO, Larouche R, Oyeyemi AL,
  • Prista A, Akinroye KK, Heyker S, Owino GE, Tremblay MS. Development and convergent validity of new self-administered questionnaires of active transportation in three African countries: Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria. BMC public health. 2018 Dec;18(1):1018
  • Barreira T.V., S.T. Broyles, C. Tudor-Locke, J.-P. Chaput, , M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, R. Kuriyan, E.V. Lambert, C. Maher, J. Maia, T. Olds, Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M. Standage, M.S. Tremblay, and P.T. Katzmarzyk for the ISCOLE Research Group. Epidemiological transition in physical activity and sedentary time in children. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 2019.
  • Vitti, Ambra, Pantelis T. Nikolaidis, Elias Villiger, Vincent Onywera, and Beat Knechtle. "The “New York City Marathon”: participation and performance trends of 1.2 M runners during half-century." Research in Sports Medicine(2019): 1-17.
  • Lucy-Joy Wachira, Stella Muthuri, Sophie Ochola, Vincent Onywera & Mark Tremblay(2021) Association between dietary behaviours and weight status of school children: results from the International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment (ISCOLE) -Kenya, Child and Adolescent Obesity, 4:1, 1-22,DOI: 1080/2574254X.2020.1842014
  • Julia K. Zakrzewski-Fruer, Fiona B. Gillison, Mark S. Trambley, Onywera. “Association between breakfast frequency and physical activity and sedentary time: a cross-sectional study in children from 12 countries” BMC Public Health (2019) 19:222
  • Qian Xiao, MPH, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Timothy Olds, Mikael Fogelholm, Gang Hu, MD, Estelle V. Lambert, Carol Maher, Jose Maia, Vincent Onywera, Olga L. Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Mark S. Tremblay, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Peter T. Katzmarzyk,  “Sleep characteristics and health-related quality of life in 9- to11-year-old children from 12 countries” for the ISCOLE Research Group, Elsevier, Journal of National Sleep Foundation, Nov. 2019.
  • Wachira LM, Muthuri SK, Ochola SA, Onywera VO, Tremblay MS. Screen-based sedentary behaviour and adiposity among school children: Results from International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment (ISCOLE)-Kenya. PloS one. June 2018;13(6):e0199790.
  • Chaput JP, Barnes JD, Tremblay MS, Fogelholm M, Hu G, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL. Inequality in physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep duration and risk of obesity in children: a 12‐country study. Obesity Science & Practice. April 2018.

  • Silva DA, Chaput JP, Katzmarzyk PT, Fogelholm M, Hu G, Maher C, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL, Standage M, Tudor-Locke C, Tremblay MS. Physical Education Classes, Physical Activity, and Sedentary Behavior in Children. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2018 May;50(5):995-1004.

  • Mugo JW, Onywera V, Waudo J, Otieno OG. Functionality of Elderly Persons: A Comparison Between Institutionalized and Non–Institutionalized Elderly Persons in Nairobi City County, in Kenya. World Journal of Public Health. 2018 Mar 23;3(1):9.

  • Chaput JP, Tremblay MS, Katzmarzyk PT, Fogelholm M, Mikkilä V, Hu G, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Olds T, Onywera V. Outdoor time and dietary patterns in children around the world. Journal of Public Health. 2018 Apr 19.

  • Chaput JP, Barnes JD, Tremblay MS, Fogelholm M, Hu G, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL. Thresholds of physical activity associated with obesity by level of sedentary behaviour in children. Pediatric obesity. 2018 Mar 24.

  • Larouche R, Mire EF, Belanger K, Barreira TV, Chaput JP, Fogelholm M, Hu G, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL, Standage M, Tudor-Locke C, Katzmarzyk PT, Tremblay MS. Relationships between outdoor time, physical activity, sedentary behavior and obesity in children: a 12-country study. American Journal of Public Health.

  • Barreira T.V., S.T. Broyles, C. Tudor-Locke, J.-P. Chaput, , M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, R. Kuriyan, A. Kurpad, E.V. Lambert, C. Maher, J. Maia, V. Matsudo, T. Olds, V. Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M. Standage, M.S. Tremblay, P. Zhao and P.T. Katzmarzyk for the ISCOLE Research Group. Epidemiological transition in physical activity and sedentary time in children from 12 countries. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (Submitted for Publication on September 1, 2017).
  • Gomes T.N., P.T Katzmarzyk, D. Hedeker, M. Fogelholm, M. Standage, V. Onywera, E.V. Lambert, M.S. Tremblay, J.-P. Chaput, C. Tudor-Locke, O. Sarmiento, V. Matsudo, A. Kurpard, R. Kuriyan, P. Zhao, G. Hu, T. Olds, C. Maher and J. Maia for the ISCOLE Research Group. Correlates of compliance with recommended levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in children. Scientific Reports (Submitted for Publication on July 3, 2017).
  • Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., Broyles S.T., K.T. Drazba, T.S. Church, J.-P. Chaput, M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, R. Kuriyan, A. Kurpad, E.V. Lambert, C. Maher, J. Maia, V. Matsudo, T. Olds, V. Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M. Standage, M.S. Tremblay, C. Tudor-Locke, P. Zhao and P.T. Katzmarzyk for the ISCOLE Research Group. Proportion of children meeting 24-hour movement guidelines and association with health-related quality of life in a 12-country study. Public Health 2017;153:16-24
  • Pantelis T. Nikolaidis, Vincent O. Onywera, And Beat Knechtle: Running Performance, Nationality, Sex, And Age In The 10-Km, Half-Marathon, Marathon, And The 100-Km Ultramarathon Iaaf 1999–2015: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research National Strength and Conditioning Association, VOLUME 31 | NUMBER 8 | AUGUST 2017
  • Taru Manyanga, Mark S. Tremblay, Jean-Philippe Chaput1, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Mikael Fogelholm, Gang Hu, Rebecca Kuriyan, Anura Kurpad, Estelle V. Lambert, Carol Maher, Jose Maia, Victor Matsudo, Timothy Olds, Vincent Onywera, Olga L. Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Pei Zhao, Vera Mikkila, Stephanie T. Broyles (2017) Socioeconomic status and dietary patterns in children from around the world: different associations by levels of country human development? BMC Public Health (2017) DOI 10.1186/s12889-017-4383-8
  • Blanca Roman-Viñas, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Mikael Fogelholm, Estelle V. Lambert,Carol Maher, Jose Maia, Timothy Olds, Vincent Onywera, Olga L. Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Mark S. Tremblay and for the ISCOLE Research Group (2017) Proportion of children meeting recommendations for 24-hour movement guidelines and associations with adiposity in a 12-country study International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity DOI 10.1186/s12966-016-0449-8
  • Muia, E. N., Wright, H. H., Onywera, V. O., & Kuria, E. N. (2016). Adolescent elite Kenyan runners are at risk for energy deficiency, menstrual dysfunction and disordered eating. Journal of sports sciences, 34(7), 598-606.
  • Oyeyemi AL, Conway TL, Adedoyin RA, Akinroye KK, Aryeetey R, Assah F, Cain KL, Gavand KA, Kasoma SS, Kolbe-Alexander TL, Lambert EV, Larouche R, Mos SJ, Ocansey R, Onywera VO, Prista A, Tremblay MS, Sallis JF. (In press). Construct Validity of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale for Africa. Medicine and science in sports and exercise.
  • Knechtle, B., Nikolaidis, P. T., Onywera, V. O., Zingg, M. A., Rosemann, T., & Rüst, C. A. (2016). Male and female Ethiopian and Kenyan runners are the fastest and the youngest in both half and full marathon. SpringerPlus, 5(1), 1.
  • Samaah Sullivan, Stephanie T Broyles, Tiago V Barreira, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Mikael Fogelholm, Gang Hu, Rebecca Kuriyan, Anura Kurpad, Estelle V Lambert, Carol Maher, Jose Maia, Victor Matsudo, Tim Olds, Vincent Onywera, Olga L Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Mark S Tremblay, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Peter T Katzmarzyk, Associations between Neighborhood Social Environment Attributes and Physical Activity and Obesity among 9-11 year old Children from 12 Countries(Submitted): Social Science & Medicine.
  • Jean-Philippe Chaput, Madyson Weippert, Allana G LeBlanc, Mads F Hjorth, Kim F Michaelsen, Peter T Katzmarzyk, Mark S Tremblay, Tiago V Barreira, Stephanie T Broyles, Mikael Fogelholm, Gang Hu, Rebecca Kuriyan, Anura Kurpad, Estelle V Lambert, Carol Maher, Jose Maia, Victor Matsudo, Timothy Olds, Vincent Onywera, Olga L Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Pei Zhao, Anders M Sjödin. (2016). Are children like Werewolves? Full Moon and its association with sleep and activity Behaviors in an international sample of children. Frontiers in pediatrics 4 (2016).
  • Chaput JP, Katzmarzyk PT, Barnes JD, Fogelholm M, Hu G, Kuriyan R, Kurpad A, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Matsudo V, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL, Standage M, Tudor-Locke C, Zhao P, Tremblay MS for the ISCOLE Research Group. Mid-upper arm circumference as a screening tool for identifying children with obesity: a 12-country study. Pediatric obesity (2016).
  • Deirdre M. Harrington, Fiona Gillison, Stephanie T. Broyles, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Mikael Fogelholm, Gang Hu,Rebecca Kuriyan, Anura Kurpad, Allana G. LeBlanc, Carol Maher, Jose Maia, Victor Matsudo, Timothy Olds,Vincent Onywera, Olga L. Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Mark S. Tremblay, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Pei Zhao, andPeter T. Katzmarzyk, for the ISCOLE Research Group: Household-Level Correlates of Children’s Physical ActivityLevels in and Across 12 Countries
  • Pei Zhao,Enqing Liu, Yijuan Qiao,Peter T. Katzmarzyk,Jean-Philippe Chaput, Mikael Fogelholm, William D. Johnson, Rebecca Kuriyan, Anura Kurpad, Estelle V. Lambert, Carol Maher, José A.R. Maia,Victor Matsudo, Timothy Olds, Vincent Onywera, Olga L. Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Mark S. Tremblay, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Gang Hu (2016), Maternal gestational diabetes and childhood obesity at age 9–11:results of a multinational study,Diabetologia, DOI: 10.1007/s00125-016-4062-9
  • Beat Knechtle1, Pantelis T. Nikolaidis, Vincent O. Onywera4, Matthias A. Zingg, Thomas Rosemann and Christoph A. Rüst: Male and female Ethiopian and Kenyan runners are the fastest and the youngest in both half and full marathon.
  • Stella K. Muthuri, Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Vincent O. Onywera, and Mark S. Tremblay: Associations Between Parental Perceptions of the Neighborhood Environment and Childhood Physical Activity: Results from ISCOLE-Kenya.
  • Zakrzewski J.K., F.B. Gillison, S. Cumming, T.S. Church, P.T. Katzmarzyk, S.T. Broyles, C.M. Champagne, J.-P. Chaput, K. D. Denstel, M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, R. Kuriyan, A. Kurpad, E.V. Lambert, C. Maher, J. Maia, V. Matsudo, E.F. Mire, T. Olds, V. Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M.S. Tremblay, C. Tudor-Locke, P. Zhao and M. Standage for the ISCOLE Research Group. Associations between breakfast frequency and adiposity indicators in children from 12 countries. International Journal of Obesity Supplements 2015;5(2):S80-S88.
  • Chaput J.P., P.T. Katzmarzyk, A.G. LeBlanc, M.S. Tremblay, T.V. Barreira, S.T. Broyles, M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, R. Kuriyan, A. Kurpad, E.V. Lambert, D.E. Rae, C. Maher, J. Maia, V. Matsudo, V. Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M. Standage, C. Tudor-Locke, P. Zhao, and T. Olds for the ISCOLE Research Group. Associations between sleep patterns and lifestyle behaviors in children: An international comparison. International Journal of Obesity Supplements 2015;5(2):S59-S65.
  • Mark S. Tremblay, Silvia A. Gonzalez, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Vincent O. Onywera,John. J. Reilly, and Grant Tomkinson,Physical Activity Report Cards: Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance and the Lancet Physical Activity Observatory,Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2015, 12, 297 -298
  • Catrine Tudor-Locke1, Emily F Mire1, Kara N Dentro1, Tiago V Barreira1,John M Schuna Jr, Pei Zhao,Mark S Tremblay, Martyn Standage, Olga L Sarmiento, Vincent Onywera, Tim Olds, Victor Matsudo,José Maia, Carol Maher, Estelle V Lambert, Anura Kurpad, Rebecca Kuriyan, Gang Hu1, Mikael Fogelholm,Jean-Philippe Chaput, Timothy S Church, Peter T Katzmarzyk, (2015),A model for presenting accelerometer paradata in large studies: ISCOLE,International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

  • Broyles S.T., K. Dentro, T.S. Church, J.P. Chaput, M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, R. Kuriyan, A. Kurpad, E.V. Lambert, C. Maher, J. Maia, V. Matsudo, T. Olds, V. Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M. Standage, M.S. Tremblay, C. Tudor-Locke, P. Zhao and P.T. Katzmarzyk for the ISCOLE Research Group(Submitted). The epidemiologic transition and obesity in children across 12 countries. International Journal of Epidemiology.
  • Katzmarzyk P.T., T.V. Barreira, S.T. Broyles, C.M. Champagne, J.-P. Chaput, M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, W.D. Johnson, R. Kuriyan, A. Kurpad, E.V. Lambert, C. Maher, J. Maia, V. Matsudo, T. Olds, V. Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M. Standage, M.S. Tremblay, C. Tudor-Locke, P. Zhao and T.S. Church for the ISCOLE Research Group(Submitted). Relationship Between Lifestyle Behaviors and Obesity in 9-11 year old Children: Results from a 12-Country Study. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders.
  • Katzmarzyk P.T., T.V. Barreira, S.T. Broyles, C.M. Champagne, J.-P. Chaput, M. Fogelholm, G. Hu, W.D. Johnson, R. Kuriyan, A. Kurpad, E.V. Lambert, C. Maher, J. Maia, V. Matsudo, T.S. Olds, V. Onywera, O.L. Sarmiento, M. Standage, M.S. Tremblay, C. Tudor-Locke, P. Zhao and T.S. Church for the ISCOLE Research Group (Submitted). Physical activity, sedentary time and obesity in an international sample of children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
  • Research priorities for child and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviours: an international perspective using a twin-panel Delphi procedure,International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:112,Lauren Gillis, Grant Tomkinson1, Timothy Olds, Carla Moreira, Candice Christie, Claudio Nigg, Ester Cerin,Esther Van Sluijs, Gareth Stratton, Ian Janssen, Jeremy Dorovolomo, John J Reilly, Jorge Mota2,Kashef Zayed, Kent Kawalski, Lars Bo Andersen, Manuel Carrizosa, Mark Tremblay, Michael Chia,Mike Hamlin, Non Eleri Thomas, Ralph Maddison, Stuart Biddle, Trish Gorely, Vincent Onywera and Willem Van Mechelen
  • Cejka N, Rüst CA, Lepers R, Onywera V, Rosemann T, Knechtle B.,2013, Participation and performance trends in 100-km ultra-marathons worldwide., Journal of Sports Sciences
  • Katzmarzyk PT, Barreira TV, Broyles ST, Champagne CM, Chaput JP, Fogelholm M, Hu G, Johnson WD, Kuriyan R, Kurpad A, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Matsudo V, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL, Standage M, Tremblay MS, Tudor-Locke C, Zhao P, Church TS., 2013, The International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment (ISCOLE): design and methods., BMC Public Health 2013, 13:900
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