Associate Professor in Pediatric Science at Karolinska Institutet
Professor in Food Studies, Nutrition and Dietetics, especially the communication of dietetics, at Uppsala University
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.
I am responsible for several projects related to childhood obesity. Most recently I lead work package Health Care in the EU project Science and Technology in childhood Obesity Policy (STOP), financed by Horizont2020 program and lead by Imperial College. This large €10 milj project will examine potential opportunities for interventions to help reduce the high burden of childhood obesity in Europe. This includes improving our understanding of how the environment in which we live shapes children’s behaviours and parents’ choices, starting from before birth. The project will investigate early signs of biological changes due to those behaviours, eventually leading to obesity, in 17 cohorts of children throughout Europe. An experimental study will be undertaken in Sweden, Spain and Romania to test whether digital technologies can help very young obese children and their families to achieve sustainable improvements in body weight, especially for children from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background.
Childhood obesity has been in focus already for my doctoral thesis (2009, Lund University) and postdoctoral research (2009-2014, Yale University, University of Oregon and University of Oxford). I have also held several distinguished national and international assignments in the field of obesity: Scientific Secretary for the Swedish Association for the Study of Obesity (SFO) 2013-2015, board member of the Childhood Obesity Taskforce (COTF) of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), 2007- 2016 and board of the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG), 2014-2017 and in 2015 I led ECOG:s 25th European Obesity 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 am also affiliated with the Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity at the University of Oxford and with the Oregon Social Learning Center, Eugene, USA.
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
My research group at Karolinska Institutet examines determinants and consequences of obesity in preschool age as well as effectiveness of different treatment approaches. We are 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. We have completed the active phase of the intervention, which was the focus of the doctoral thesis of Anna Ek, for whom I was main supervisor, defended in September 2016. Currently, another doctoral fellow, Maria Somaraki, vid Uppsala University, is following all families for four years. I am the main supervisor for Maria together with Anna Ek as co-supervisor who also continues as a postdoctoral fellow in the project. In addition, I also supervise Karolin Bergman, at Uppsala University, who studies the construction and understanding of state dietary advice. In addition, since June 2017 I supervise Pernilla Sandvik, a postdoctoral fellow at Uppsala University who examines the prevalence and determinants of picky eating early in life.
My research has been funded by Swedish Research Council, Swedish Medical Society, FORTE, VINNOVA, EU HORIZON 2020 (grant no. 774548) and other funding bodies (for complete list see my CV).
For complete description, please see my CV.
Academic honours, 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).
2014-2017 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
A 20-minute-presentation from a conference "Preventing and treating obesity" in Dublin organised by ASOI in Dublin, 4-5 May 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e6obFscn3E
Why obesity interventions are better sooner? 2 minutes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phys2cHDdP0