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A healthy and sustainable start in life - project description


The aim of the project is to explore the association between maternal diet and child weight development, and if this is associated with cognitive and mental development.


Both maternal and child dietary data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort (MoBa) will be used as well as data on mental and cognitive development from the same data source.

Approximately 100 000 women participate in the MoBa cohort giving an excellent opportunity to explore these associations.

The following data will be used from the MoBa cohort:

  • Maternal MoBa food frequency questionnaire filled in during pregnancy and food frequency questionnaires assessing child diet at all available time points
  • Maternal and child weight development (up to age 8 years)
  • Child cognitive and mental development at all relevant time points from 0 to 8 years

In addition, covariates and confounding factors, as age, parity, socio economic variables, BMI, physical activity, gestational length, dietary supplements, breastfeeding etc will be included. Data on comorbidity and medication during pregnancy and child physical activity at different timepoints will be used.

Data on mental and cognitive development are from international standardized questions included in the MoBa questionnaires. The project group collaborates with a researchers in England (University of Bristol) who has a 20% position at the University of Agder, who will help in analysing the data. Further a professor at Deakin University will aid in interpreting the data regarding mental health.



Project participants

Project leader

Nina Cecilie Øverby








Regionale komitéer for medisinsk og helsefaglig forskningsetikk (REK) - 2019/339

Project owner/ Project manager

Universitetet i Agder

Project manager

Participant at FHI

Anne Lise Brantsæter