Digital Public Defence: Tiril Cecilie Borge

MSc Tiril Cecilie Borge at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis The importance of maternal diet quality during pregnancy and child diet quality on child ADHD and related developmental functions for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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.

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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.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Researcher Edward D. Barker, King's College London
  • Second opponent: Professor Hazel Inskip, University of Southampton
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Knut Reidar Wangen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Elia Mmbaga, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

 Anne Lise Brantsæter, Norwegian Public Health Institute


Early life malnutrition has been linked with negative and long-term physical and mental health consequences for the child. Less is known regarding the importance of more subtle variations in maternal and child diet quality on child ADHD and related developmental outcomes. The main objective of this thesis in nutritional epidemiology is to explore associations between maternal diet quality during pregnancy and child diet quality at 3 years, and child ADHD and related developmental functions.

Paper I summarized the literature investigating associations between maternal diet quality during pregnancy and child developmental outcomes, using a systematic review and meta-analytical approach. For papers II and III, we used data from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and the Norwegian patient registry (NPR), applying a Bayesian statistical framework and different multiple regression models. Diet quality was examined by indices measuring adherence to dietary recommendations and intake of ultra-processed foods.

The results from this thesis provide evidence that increased maternal diet quality is associated with a reduction in difficulties related to child affective, behavioural and cognitive outcomes in preschool years, decrease in ADHD symptoms score and lower risk for ADHD diagnosis at 8 years. Maternal intake of ultra-processed food was only associated with child ADHD symptom scores and the estimates were of similar magnitude as for the overall maternal diet quality. We observed no associations between child diet quality at 3 years and ADHD symptom score at 8 years nor ADHD diagnosis. 

Despite finding associations, most of the effect estimates were small.  We doubt that these findings have much clinical significance in populations similar to MoBa, with overall adequate diet quality. However, the results might be of more relevance in populations where a greater proportion of pregnant women and women of childbearing age have poor diet quality.

Additional information

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Published Mar. 12, 2021 10:33 AM - Last modified Mar. 29, 2021 12:33 PM