Cancelled: Digital Public Defence: Hanne Torjusen

Cand.scient. Hanne Torjusen at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Organic food, pregnancy and health: Associations between consumption of organic food  in pregnancy, maternal characteristics and pregnancy health outcomes in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa)” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Eivind Røhne.

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Order a digital copy of the thesis here

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Researcher Axel Mie, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Second opponent:  Professor Susanne Gjedsted Bügel, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Anette Hjartåker, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Tone Kristin Omsland, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

 Helle Margrete Meltzer, Research Director, Norwegian Institute of Public Health


This thesis describes characteristics associated with consumption of organic food among pregnant women and the potential impact of organic food consumption during pregnancy on the risk of developing pre-eclampsia in the women, and hypospadias and cryptorchidism in their male babies.

Analyses are based on data from the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) in years 2002-2008. The study population included pregnant women and their male babies. The mothers answered a food frequency questionnaire and a general health questionnaire during pregnancy. Health outcome data were obtained from the Norwegian Medical Birth Registry.

Frequent consumption of organic food, which was reported by 9.1% of the study population, was associated with various personal, socio-economic - and lifestyle characteristics, including distinct dietary patterns. Several, but not all of these characteristics were in line with traditional markers of good health.

Characteristics were used to control for confounding in the subsequent analyses of possible associations between organic food consumption in pregnancy and the studied health outcomes. As a general conclusion, such contextual knowledge is important to include in future investigations of organic food and health.

Reported consumption of organic vegetables ‘often’ or ‘mostly’, but not organic fruit, cereals, eggs, milk or meat, was associated with lower risk of pre-eclampsia compared with less frequent consumption.

Women who reported organic food consumption during pregnancy were less likely to give birth to a boy with hypospadias than women who reported never or seldom consuming organic food. Results for individual food groups showed that associations were strongest for consumption of organic vegetables and milk and dairy products. Findings were based on small numbers of cases, however, and require replication in other study populations. No substantial association was observed for consumption of organic food and cryptorchidism.

Dietary recommendations encourage frequent intake of plant foods, including vegetables. The main conclusion from the studies in this thesis is that choosing organically grown vegetables may yield additional benefits.

Additional information

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Published Feb. 2, 2022 12:56 PM - Last modified Feb. 2, 2022 12:56 PM