Child and Adolescent Public Health Epidemiology

The child and adolescent public health epidemiology group is a multi-disciplinary research team with competencies in child psychology, pediatrics, social medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, nutrition and physical activity.

Our research

A majority of our research is population-based and longitudinal and we often collaborate with colleagues in other countries. We are involved in long-standing research projects with partners at universities in, for example, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Bristol, and London.  

The research interests of our group

  • Maternal weight gain in pregnancy and offspring’s risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure in childhood and young adulthood
  • Prevention of excess weight gain in pregnancy and weight retention after delivery among obese women
  • Primary prevention of childhood obesity
  • Health consequences of bariatric surgery for obese women, their spouses, and their children
  • Stigmatization and discrimination of people with obesity
  • Cognitive ability and mental health in adolescence and long-term health consequences and mortality
  • Long-term effects of alcohol exposure in fetal life and adolescence on social adjustment, educational attainment, and labor market participation
  • Mobility disability in normal weight and obese people and their participation in society
  • Evaluation of a health promoting parent group program
  • Prevalence of symptoms of depression in new mothers and fathers
  • Parental support to strengthen children’s development and mental health
  • Importance of epigenetic markers for birthweight and risk of developing childhood obesity
  • Evaluation of a counseling intervention aimed at promoting labor market integration and mental health amongst young school drop-outs
  • Evaluation of a dissonance-based intervention program aimed to increase quality of life and wellbeing of obese women after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery

Research projects

Primary prevention of childhood obesity through sessions at child health centers addressing healthy eating habits and physical activity. A randomized population-based study (the PRIMROSE trial)

Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem and the current evidence of primary prevention programs is weak.


  1. To investigate if a structured intervention program based on social cognitive theory (SCT) and motivational interviewing (MI) have effects on preschool children’s and their parents’ eating habits, physical activity patterns, and the prevalence of overweight or obesity
  2. To investigate cost-effectiveness of the intervention program. That is, how large are the additional costs of the intervention program in relation to the additional health effects regarding eating habits, physical activity, BMI and waist circumference?

Material and methods

This cluster-randomized trial is conducted at many child health centers in eight Swedish counties. Approximately 500 children and their parents are included in the intervention group and approximately the same number of families is enrolled in the control group. The intervention is based on a manual and intervention nurses were taught SCT and MI during a course and by attending supervised guidance by certified specialists. The intervention nurses apply their skills during nine sessions with parents and their young children. The children and their parents are participating in the intervention program from 6-7 months of age to 4 years of age. Validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires, accelerometers, and anthropometrical measures are done at baseline and follow-up at age 4. Longitudinal recordings of nurses’ conversations with parents in the intervention group have been conducted to evaluate their proficiency in MI.

Contact: Nora Döring and Finn Rasmussen

How and when is it most feasible and cost-effective to promote weight reduction after delivery in overweight women by motivational interviewing (IRIS trial)?


The aim is to conduct a randomized intervention study in which the effects of motivational interviewing (MI), self-monitoring, and feedback about women’s eating and physical activity behaviors on gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention are assessed.

Material and methods

After baseline assessment, women will be randomized to one of four conditions:

  1. MI and feedback sessions during pregnancy
  2. MI and feedback sessions after delivery
  3. MI and feedback sessions during pregnancy and also after delivery
  4. Care as usual

The four groups will be followed during 12 months postpartum. The primary outcome is postpartum weight retention.

Contact: Helena Bjermo and Finn Rasmussen


The Family Intervention All Children in Focus - A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects and Costs of a Universal Parental Program (The ABC trial)


The purpose is to evaluate the effect of a health promotion program called “All Children in Focus”. A randomized trial has been performed in which parents were offered to participate in four group sessions. The main outcome is parental self-efficacy and perceptions of child health and development. The cost-effectiveness and parent-child interaction will also be evaluated.

Material and methods

In total, 621 parents with children in the ages of 3-12 years of age have been recruited in 11 municipalities and city districts. Parents were randomized at baseline to an intervention group which received the program directly or to a waiting-list which participated six months later. Changes in parental self-efficacy and perceptions of child health and development were assessed post-intervention and six months after baseline. Observations of a smaller group of parents and children were conducted in order to study correlations between parental reports and observed behaviors together with changes in the interaction between child and parent. Data has also been collected to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the program.

Contact: Lene Lindberg and Malin Ulfsdotter

Parental depressive symptoms


The overall purpose of the study is to map the prevalence of depressive symptoms among parents 4-6 months after childbirth, with a follow-up after 12 months and also evaluate interventions.

Material and methods

A questionnaire has been sent to 8,000 fathers in the first wave, and to both mothers and fathers of more than 2,000 children in the second wave 4-6 months after birth. Different scales that measure depressive symptoms have been used: Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), Gotland Male Depression Scale (GMDS), and in the second wave also General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12). The EPDS was originally developed for new mothers and contains questions about, for example, being sad or unhappy. The GMDS was designed for male suicide prevention and contains questions about, for example, aggressiveness, lack of impulse-control, and emptiness. The GHQ-12 is more gender neutral and contains items on, for example, decision-making capacity and self-esteem. Parents responding to the questionnaire in the second wave are asked to participate in clinical interviews aiming to detect depression or other mental health problems. The outcome of the interviews will be compared with the self-reported answers in order for a suitable cutoff for detection of mothers and fathers, respectively, can be calculated. A follow-up will be sent out when the children have turned 12 months old in order to study the development of the depressive symptoms over time. Statistical analyses will be performed in SPSS regarding the association between such variables as depressive symptoms and demographic factors.

Contact: Lene Lindberg and Magdalena Carlberg

Obesity in people with mobility disabilities: steps towards better health, wellbeing and participation in society


The purpose of this research program, combining expertise from public health and disability research, is to create new knowledge about possibilities and barriers to social participation, self-efficacy, social support, health behaviors, and quality of life among mobility-disabled people with and without overweight/obesity.

Material and methods

Research databases are created by record-linkage of national registers with information on mobility disability, BMI status, socioeconomic factors, participation in leisure time activities and working life, disability pension, etc. This rich register-based data has enabled us to create new knowledge about health inequalities, participation limitations of mobility disabled and obese individuals, etc. Efforts are made to translate the new knowledge into practice.

Contact: Mattias Norrbäck, Jeroen de Munter, and Finn Rasmussen 

Long-term effects of increased alcohol availability: a natural experiment


To evaluate the long-term health and social effects of the increased drinking among adolescents and pregnant women that was induced by a profound alcohol policy change, in two Swedish counties in the late 1960s.

Material and methods

During this natural experiment, alcohol availability increased markedly when the sales of high alcoholic beer (>3.5%) were permitted in grocery stores and also made more available in restaurants. Because the increased access to alcohol was exogenously induced and confined to a defined area, the quasi-experiment offers a unique research opportunity, given the rich registers that may be used for analyzing long-term effects on cognitive ability, alcohol-related health problems, and crime.

Contact: Emelie Thern, Jeroen de Munter, and Finn Rasmussen

Impacts of the economic crisis 1991-94, school performance, and migrant status on associations between labor market position in youth and mental and alcohol-related health problems in later life


The purpose is to investigate longitudinal associations between labor market positions in youth and risks of mental disorders, alcohol-related problems, and suicidal behaviors later in life. Another key purpose of the study is to find out whether or not the natural experimental design can reduce selection bias under these conditions.

Material and methods

The project is concerned with these associations in the total population and in vulnerable groups, i.e. children with low school performance or migrant status. Study cohorts vary between four substudies, but all participants were born between 1962 and 1982

Contact: Finn Rasmussen and Emelie Thern

A randomized trial of dissonance-based intervention effects on quality of life and health of obese women after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery


The aim is to investigate if a randomized, post-surgery, dissonance-based group intervention offered to severely obese women after RYGB surgery has effects on: health-related quality of life, eating behavior, body esteem, symptoms of depression, PA and sedentary behavior and weight.

Material and method

A total of 264 patients will be recruited and randomized either to the intervention (50%) or to usual care (50%). Assessment will be made at baseline one month before RYGB, and at follow-up visits 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery.

Contact: Fanny Sellberg, Daniel Berglind and Finn Rasmussen

Evaluation of a counseling intervention aimed at promoting labor market integration and mental health amongst young school drop-outs. A randomized trial


The purpose of the study is to analyze whether the counseling intervention increases young school drop-out’s ability to gain paid employment, help them to focus on further studies and improve their mental health.

Material and method

After baseline assessment, school drop-outs will be randomized either to group counseling sessions (5 days) followed by weekly Internet-based sessions (5 weeks) or to a control group offered the usual advice at public employment offices. The primary outcome is paid employment, and all randomized individuals will be followed-up shortly after the intervention, and 12 and 24 months after baseline, by validated methods.

Contact: Michael Wells and Finn Rasmussen

Doctoral theses


Changes in eating behaviour and food choices in families where the mother undergoes gastric bypass surgery for obesity.
Willmer M, Berglind D, Tynelius P, Ghaderi A, Näslund E, Rasmussen F
Eur J Clin Nutr 2016 Jan;70(1):35-40

Differential methylation in inflammation and type 2 diabetes genes in siblings born before and after maternal bariatric surgery.
Berglind D, Müller P, Willmer M, Sinha I, Tynelius P, Näslund E, et al
Obesity (Silver Spring) 2016 Jan;24(1):250-61

Changes in BMI and psychosocial functioning in partners of women who undergo gastric bypass surgery for obesity.
Willmer M, Berglind D, Thorell A, Sundbom M, Uddén J, Raoof M, et al
Obes Surg 2015 Feb;25(2):319-24

Children's weight status, body esteem, and self-concept after maternal gastric bypass surgery.
Willmer M, Berglind D, Tynelius P, Ghaderi A, Näslund E, Rasmussen F
Surg Obes Relat Dis ;11(4):927-32

Children's weight status, body esteem, and self-concept after maternal gastric bypass surgery.
Willmer M, Berglind D, Tynelius P, Ghaderi A, Näslund E, Rasmussen F
Surg Obes Relat Dis ;11(4):927-32

Heritability of gestational weight gain--a Swedish register-based twin study.
Andersson E, Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Nohr E, Sørensen T, Rasmussen F
Twin Res Hum Genet 2015 Aug;18(4):410-8

Longitudinal analysis of lifestyle habits in relation to body mass index, onset of overweight and obesity: results from a large population-based cohort in Sweden.
de Munter J, Tynelius P, Magnusson C, Rasmussen F
Scand J Public Health 2015 May;43(3):236-45

Longitudinal assessment of physical activity in women undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
Berglind D, Willmer M, Eriksson U, Thorell A, Sundbom M, Uddén J, et al
Obes Surg 2015 Jan;25(1):119-25

No association of maternal gestational weight gain with offspring blood pressure and hypertension at age 18 years in male sibling-pairs: a prospective register-based cohort study.
Scheers Andersson E, Tynelius P, Nohr E, Sørensen T, Rasmussen F
PLoS ONE 2015 ;10(3):e0121202

The associations between overweight, weight change and health related quality of life: Longitudinal data from the Stockholm Public Health Cohort 2002-2010.
Döring N, de Munter J, Rasmussen F
Prev Med 2015 Jun;75():12-7

Radiochemical determination of gross alpha activity in urine by adsorption on dextran gel Sephadex.
Hafez M, Saied F
Int J Appl Radiat Isot 1973 May;24(5):241-4

The educational gradient of obesity increases among Swedish pregnant women: a register-based study.
Bjermo H, Lind S, Rasmussen F
BMC Public Health 2015 Apr;15():315

The impact on social capital of mobility disability and weight status: the Stockholm Public Health Cohort.
Norrbäck M, de Munter J, Tynelius P, Ahlström G, Rasmussen F
Disabil Health J 2015 Apr;8(2):200-7

Women undergoing Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery: Family resemblance in pre- to postsurgery physical activity and sedentary behavior in children and spouses.
Berglind D, Willmer M, Tynelius P, Ghaderi A, Näslund E, Rasmussen F
Surg Obes Relat Dis ;11(3):690-6

Women undergoing Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery: Family resemblance in pre- to postsurgery physical activity and sedentary behavior in children and spouses.
Berglind D, Willmer M, Tynelius P, Ghaderi A, Näslund E, Rasmussen F
Surg Obes Relat Dis ;11(3):690-6

Association of paternal IQ in early adulthood with offspring mortality and hospital admissions for injuries: a cohort study of 503 492 Swedish children.
Jelenkovic A, Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Rasmussen F
J Epidemiol Community Health 2014 Jul;68(7):679-82

Attitudes towards obesity in the Swedish general population: the role of one's own body size, weight satisfaction, and controllability beliefs about obesity.
Hansson L, Rasmussen F
Body Image 2014 Jan;11(1):43-50

Differences in gestational weight gain between pregnancies before and after maternal bariatric surgery correlate with differences in birth weight but not with scores on the body mass index in early childhood.
Berglind D, Willmer M, Näslund E, Tynelius P, Sørensen T, Rasmussen F
Pediatr Obes 2014 Dec;9(6):427-34

Impacts of mobility disability and high and increasing body mass index on health-related quality of life and participation in society: a population-based cohort study from Sweden.
Holmgren M, Lindgren A, de Munter J, Rasmussen F, Ahlström G
BMC Public Health 2014 Apr;14():381

Mental disorders across the adult life course and future coronary heart disease: evidence for general susceptibility.
Gale C, Batty G, Osborn D, Tynelius P, Rasmussen F
Circulation 2014 Jan;129(2):186-93

Natural course vs interventions to clear common bile duct stones: data from the Swedish Registry for Gallstone Surgery and Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (GallRiks).
Möller M, Gustafsson U, Rasmussen F, Persson G, Thorell A
JAMA Surg 2014 Oct;149(10):1008-13

Poor school performance is associated with a larger gain in body mass index during puberty.
Kark M, Hjern A, Rasmussen F
Acta Paediatr. 2014 Feb;103(2):207-13

Primary prevention of childhood obesity through counselling sessions at Swedish child health centres: design, methods and baseline sample characteristics of the PRIMROSE cluster-randomised trial.
Döring N, Hansson L, Andersson E, Bohman B, Westin M, Magnusson M, et al
BMC Public Health 2014 Apr;14():335

Risk of low Apgar scores and socioeconomic status over a 30-year period.
Odd D, Lewis G, Gunnell D, Rasmussen F
J. Matern. Fetal. Neonatal. Med. 2014 Apr;27(6):603-7

School effects on risk of non-fatal suicidal behaviour: a national multilevel cohort study.
Jablonska B, Ostberg V, Hjern A, Lindberg L, Rasmussen F, Modin B
Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2014 Apr;49(4):609-18

Sex of preceding sibling and anthropometrics of subsequent offspring at birth and in young adulthood: a population-based study in Sweden.
Jelenkovic A, Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Helle S, Rasmussen F
Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 2014 Aug;154(4):471-8

Training in methods of preventing childhood obesity increases self-efficacy in nurses in child health services: a randomized, controlled trial.
Bohman B, Ghaderi A, Rasmussen F
J Nutr Educ Behav ;46(3):215-8

Validation of screening questions and symptom coherence of night eating in the Swedish Twin Registry.
Allison K, Lundgren J, Stunkard A, Bulik C, Lindroos A, Thornton L, et al
Compr Psychiatry 2014 Apr;55(3):579-87

Weight status in young adulthood and survival after cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Rasmussen F
Int J Epidemiol 2014 Aug;43(4):1197-204

Association of birth order with cardiovascular disease risk factors in young adulthood: a study of one million Swedish men.
Jelenkovic A, Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Myrskylä M, Rasmussen F
PLoS ONE 2013 ;8(5):e63361

Social modifications of the multiple birth effect on IQ and body size: a population-based study of young adult males.
Silventoinen K, Myrskylä M, Tynelius P, Yokoyama Y, Rasmussen F
Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2013 Jul;27(4):380-7

Group members

Finn Rasmussen Research group leader, Professor
Ewa Andersson           


Daniel Berglind Postdoc
Helena Bjermo Associated, Postdoc
Louise Carlberg Associated, Research assistant
Nora Döring PhD student
Lena Hansson Postdoc
Agnes Henriksson Research assistant
Ting Jia Associated
Lene Lindberg

Adjunct senior lecturer

Jeroen de Munter Postdoc
Mattias Norrbäck PhD student
Elina Scheers Andersson PhD student
Fanny Sellberg PhD student
Emelie Thern PhD student
Per Tynelius Associated, Senior statistician 
Malin Ulfsdotter Associated, PhD student
Michael Wells Postdoc
Mikaela Willmer Associated, Postdoc
Regina Winzer Graduate student

Contact us

Professor/senior physician

Finn Rasmussen

Phone: +46-(0)8-123 372 15
Organizational unit: Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS), K9

ObesityPublic HealthSocial Medicine