Health & Exercise - a Life Course Perspective (HELP)

People cycling in the forest. Photo: Istock

The research group HELP has as its overall aim to study health and exercise in a lifecourse perspective by considering the intertwining of genetic/biological, psychosocial and environmental dimensions for health, wellbeing and/or athletic performance.

A major challenge for global health in the 21st century is the low physical activity level observed throughout the lifecourse, and a major challenge for athletic performance is the neglect of athletes’ physical and mental health. Individual lifestyles may cause health problems, but can also be essential for improving health and/or athletic performance.

Our research concerns primarily of the following lifecourses and groups:

  1. Children and adolescents
  2. Athletes
  3. Students
  4. Occupational groups, e.g., police officers, personal trainers and group fitness instructors
  5. Clinical groups, e.g., type 2 diabetes, morbid obesity, eating disorders, schizophrenia
  6. Elderly


  Academic disciplines involved

  • Genetics; epigenetics
  • Exercise physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Life course developmental psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Mental health work
  • Physical education
  • Pedagogy

Research topics

Children and adolescents

  • School-based physical activity
  • School yards and physical activity affordances
  • Motor skills and physical fitness in children and adolescents
  • Physically active learning


  • Lifestyle in athletes
  • Reproductive health in athletes
  • Performance predictors in 800 m running
  • Injuries in football


  • Body image and lifestyle in various student populations
  • Physical fitness in police academy students

Occupational groups

  • Health in shift workers
  • Belonging and good mental health in the workplace
  • Working and living conditions for personal trainers
  • Health in group fitness instructors and personal trainers

Clinical groups

  • Exercise and type II diabetes
  • Exercise and obesity
  • Exercise and eye health
  • Exercise and eating disorders
  • Implementation of physical activity in rehabilitation


  • Physiological adaptation to strength training and ageing
  • Physiological adaptation to endurance training and ageing


Research Group Leader:

Members of the Research Group:


National collaborators


  • Vestfold and Telemark county
  • Telemark hospital
  • Vestfold Hospital
  • Senter for sykelig overvekt at Helse Sør-Øst
  • Modum Bad psychiatric center
  • DNT
  • Exercise referral centrals in Telemark and Buskerud
  • Telemarksforskning
  • Mental Helse
  • (Skien)
  • GREP (Porsgrunn)
  • Porsgrunn Vidergående skole
  • OsloMet
  • University of Agder
  • NTNU
  • Western University of Applied Sciences
  • Østfold University College
  • Norwegian Police Academy (Stavern)
  • Norwegian School of Sport Sciences


International collaborators

  • Loughborough University
  • Trinity St Davids University (UK)
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • University of Copenhagen (DK)
  • University of Utah
  • Ramapo College (USA), and the International Network in Sport and Health Sciences (INSHS)
  • Collaboration with University of Dayton (USA) is under establishment