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:


Collaboration partners

  • National collaborators
    elemark county, Telemark hospital, Vestfold Hospital, Senter for sykelig overvekt at Helse Sør-Øst, Klinikk for fysikalsk medisin og rehabilitering at Sykehuset Hospital, 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.