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Online Ph.D Defence by Torill Alise Rotevatn

Online Ph.D Defence by Torill Alise Rotevatn

Torill Alise Rotevatn will defend her PhD thesis: "Rapid infant weight gain and childhood overweight and obesity: Perspectives on prevention"


04.05.2020 kl. 13.00 - 16.00



13.00             Opening by the Moderator

13.05             PhD lecture by Torill Alise Rotevatn

13.50             Break

14.00             Questions and comments from the Committee
                      Questions and comments from the audience at the Moderator’s discretion

16.00             Conclusion of the session by the Moderator

Due to the current circumstances the Ph.D defence will take place online via Skype for Business. If you wish to attend, please send an email to Kristine Uldal Knudsen before 30. april 2020 at 12:00.

Evaluation committee

The Faculty Council has appointed the following adjudication committee to evaluate the thesis and the associated lecture:      

Professor Berit Lilienthal Heitmann
University of Copenhagen

Professor Pétur Benedikt Júlíusson
University of Bergen

Professor Jette Kolding Kristensen
Aalborg University

Associate Professor Henrik Bøggild
Aalborg University


Childhood overweight and obesity continues to be a significant public health problem due to its consequences on physical and psychosocial health of individuals. Obesity in childhood is often transferred into adulthood, why early prevention is key. The first 1.000 days of life, from pregnancy to 24 months of age, may be a crucial period for prevention, as numerous pre- and postnatal risk factors may operate during this period. One of these is rapid infant weight gain (RIWG), which is associated with a considerable increase in later overweight and obesity risk. However, gaps in knowledge in relation to RIWG prevention exist, which are gaps that this thesis, comprising of three studies, sets out to address.

In Study I, a systematic review collating quantitative and qualitative evidence on RIWG prevention, found that interventions generate small, significant short-term effects, but little evidence on longer-termed effects on childhood obesity exist. This study also enabled identification of a range of barriers and enhancers for RIWG prevention. Study II, a register-based cohort study, showed that the risk of childhood overweight and obesity after RIWG did not differ across socioeconomic position, although this was hypothesised. However, additional analyses investigating risk differences across infant size at birth show that children born large are at increased risks of developing later childhood obesity if experiencing RIWG. Study III, another register-based cohort study, showed that infancy weight gain information is important for making more accurate obesity risk predictions in school-aged children, although including this information would delay risk detection from birth to later infancy.

This thesis shows that the research field of RIWG prevention is novel and complex. There exists a lack in comparable experimental evidence in general, especially in evidence considering long-term effects on childhood obesity. Overall, it is not yet possible to develop firm guidelines on how RIWG prevention is best carried out, but the thesis contributes with new knowledge on contextual and processual mechanisms with importance for preventive intervention success, on potential risk groups for prevention, and on the role of infancy weight gain information in relation to timing of obesity risk prediction and initiation of relevant action.


HST - Department of Health Science and Technology


Skype for Business

Registration Deadline

30.04.2020 kl. 12.00

Register at


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