Digital Public Defence: Asborg Sine Aanstad Bjertnæs Asborg Sine Aanstad Bjertnæs at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis Epidemiology of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents in Oppland county for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Image may contain: Glasses, Face, Glasses, Smile, Eyebrow.

Photo: Henning Owren

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.


Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Clinical Professor Berit Lilienthal Heitmann, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Second opponent: Researcher Kyrre Breivik, NORCE, Norwegian Research Center
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Ketil Størdal, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Researcher Lars Lien, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Associate Professor Mads Nikolaj Holten-Andersen, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo


The burden of disease in children and adolescents has changed from infections to non-communicable diseases, including overweight and obesity (OWOB). The aim of this thesis was to examine risk factors for OWOB in children and adolescents in Oppland County and to study the prevalence of OWOB in 15–16-year-old adolescents. We collected data from eight-year-old children in Oppland county in 2007. We also collected data from 15-16-year old adolescents in 2002 and 2017 through a repeated cross-sectional study. For eight-year old children, we did not reveal any associations between breastfeeding in infancy and BMI. Among the adolescents, we found that for girls, the mean BMI and the prevalence of OWOB significantly increased in the data from 2017 compared to the data from 2002. The mean differences in BMI z-scores were also positive across the 5th to the 95th percentile, indicating that the BMI values increased across the entire distribution. No such changes were found for boys. We also found gender-related differences in the association between increased symptoms of mental health problems and increased BMI. Moreover, we found a significant association between increased sociodemographic status (SSS) and lower BMI in the 2017-data. This association was mediated by both hours of leisure-time exercise and a latent variable consisting of habits related to cigarette smoking, snuff use, and alcohol drinking. We did not find an association between SSS and BMI in the data from 2002. We concluded that compound health-related habits are central risk-factors for increased BMI and OWOB in children and adolescents. We also related and interpreted the findings to societal changes through the epidemiological transition in the years between the surveys. We concluded that the risk factors of OWOB should therefore be interpreted within the relevant behavioral and sociodemographic context.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.



Published Feb. 23, 2021 11:15 AM - Last modified Mar. 9, 2021 12:19 PM