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About me

I am Associate Professor in Pediatric Science at Karolinska Institutet. My research aims to identify the most important familial and sociocultural drivers of obesity early in life, to investigate how lifestyle patterns develop across generations, and to develop effective treatment programs. Other interests include psychosocial development in childhood and psychometrics, especially development and validation of questionnaires related to eating behavior and feeding practices.

Childhood obesity has been in focus for my doctoral thesis (2009, Lund University) and postdoctoral research (2009-2014, Yale University, University of Oregon and University of Oxford). My national and international assignments include positions as Scientific Secretary for the Swedish Association for the Study of Obesity (SFO) 2013-2015 and membership in the Childhood Obesity Taskforce (COTF) of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), 2007- 2016. Since 2013, I am a treasurer of the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG). 2015 I organized the European Childhood Obesity Congress that took place in Stockholm. Currently, I am member of the Expert Group in Nutrition and Public Health of the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket).

I teach and supervise students on postdoctoral, doctoral, master and bachelor level, at Karolinska Insitutet and at Uppsala University. Since August 2015 I am Associate Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.


2011-2014      Postdoctoral fellow, Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

2010-2011      Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, USA

2009-2010      Postdoctoral fellow, Yale Pediatric Obesity Research, Yale University, USA

2005-2009      PhD, Pediatrics, Lund University, Sweden. Thesis title: Childhood and adolescent obesity: Multidisciplinary approaches in a clinical setting. Thesis advisors: Tomas Sveger, MD, PhD Carl-Erik Flodmark, MD, PhD. Defended 13 March 2009.

2000-2004      M.S., Psychology, Lund University, Sweden

1997-2000      B.S., Clinical Nutrition, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Research description

My research group at Karolinska Institutet examines determinants and consequences of obesity in preschool age. I am also interested in scale development, psychometrics and survey design.

One of the main projects is a randomized controlled trial, the More and Less Study, testing different treatment options for preschoolers with obesity. For comprehensive description of the More and Less Study, see Ek A et al, BMC Public Health 2015.  

My research group is funded by Swedish Research Council, Swedish Medical Society and other funding bodies (for complete list see my CV).

Academic honors, awards and prizes

2015-2016   Member of the International Scientific Committee of the European Congress on Obesity 2016

From 2016   Member of the Expert Group in Nutrition and Public Health, National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket).

From 2014   Treasurer, European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG)

2013-2015   Scientific secretary of the Swedish Association for the Study of Obesity (SFO)

2010-2012   Member of the International Scientific Committee of the European Congress on Obesity 2012          

2007-2016   Invited founding fellow and executive board member of Childhood Obesity Task Force for the European Association for Study on Obesity (EASO)

From 2006   Member of Swedish Association for the Study of Obesity (SFO)

2004-2008   Chairman of the organising committee, Scandinavian Pediatric Obesity Conference

2003-2004   Chairman of the Swedish Dietitians Expert Group for Childhood Obesity

From 2004   Adhoc reviewer for the following journals, International Journal of Pediatrics/Pediatric Obesity, Obesity Facts, Appetite, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

2003             2nd place, the national competition for the best master thesis in Sport Psychology

2003             1st place, the best master thesis in Sports Sciences at Lund University

1999             Member of the organizing committee, 9th European Childhood Obesity Group  

                     Workshop, Lund



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Invited Speaker or Chair at Scientific International Meetings:

2016            26th European Childhood Obesity Congress, Thessaloniki, Greece

2016            23rd European Congress on Obesity & 1st European Obesity Summit, Gothenburg, Sweden

2015             22nd European Congress on Obesity, Prague, Chech Republic

2014             21th European Congress on Obesity, Sofia, Bulgaria

2014             Helsesøsterkongress 2014, Stavanger, Norway

2014             Association of the Study of Obesity on Ireland (ASOI) meeting, Belfast, Irland

2013             Excellence in Pediatrics Congress, Doha, Qatar

2013             International congress on obesity, Kuwait City, Kuwait

2013             20th European Congress on Obesity, Liverpool, United Kingdom

2012             19th European Congress on Obesity, Lyon, France

2011             18th European Congress on Obesity, Istanbul, Turkey

2010             4th Scandinavian Pediatric Obesity Conference, Stockholm

2009             19th Meeting of European Childhood Obesity Group, Dublin, Ireland

2009             Finnish Nutrition Days, Helsinki, Finland

2009             17th European Congress on Obesity, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2008             16th European Congress on Obesity, Geneva, Switzerland

2008             18th Meeting of European Childhood Obesity Group, Porto, Portugal

2008             3rd Scandinavian Pediatric Obesity Conference, Stockholm

2007             15th European Congress on Obesity Budapest, Hungary

2007             Öresund Food Network, Copenhagen, Denmark

2006             2nd Scandinavian Pediatric Obesity Conference, Malmö, Sweden 

2006             Nordic Obesity Meeting, Reykjavik, Iceland

2005             15th Meeting of European Childhood Obesity Group, Vienna, Austria

2004             1st Scandinavian Pediatric Obesity Conference, Malmö, Sweden

2000             Polish Diabetes Congress