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About us Medical Sciences Research Epidemiology Research units
University Medical Center Groningen

Health behavior epidemiology


Our mission is to increase the healthy life expectancy by generating scientific and policy-relevant knowledge on the determinants of health behaviors.


Health behaviors, such as physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption and smoking, have a major impact on healthy life expectancy. The determinants of health behaviors are complex and multifaceted, including individual, social, and environmental factors. Our research is aimed at understanding the development of health behaviors over the life course and to identify periods of increased susceptibility for behavioral change. We evaluate lifestyle interventions focusing on disease risk reduction to improve the healthy life expectancy of the general population. We analyze data from large, population-based cohort studies, such as Lifelines.

Senior staff
Name Function/collaboration e-mail address Topic

Nynke Smidt (unit chair)

Assistant professor

Unit chair

n.smidt Health behavior epidemiology from a life course perspective
Aart Liefbroer Full professor a.c.liefbroer Life course demography
PhD fellows Collaboration
Sjanna Bosman Internal Medicine/Geriatrics, UMCG s.bosman

Pharmacotherapy of sleeping problems among older Internal Medicine/

hospitalized patients

Reinder Broekstra Social Psychology, Institute for Medical Education, IBM r.broekstra Big data and the dilemma of innovative knowledge versus threats to personal integrity
Carel-Peter van Erpecum Health Sciences, UMCG c.p.l.van.erpecum

How obesogenic are Dutch neighborhoods?

Marlies Feenstra Internal lMedicine/Geriatris m.feenstra01 Functional recovery trajectories in hospitalized older adults
Liza Hoveling Health Sciences, UMCG, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute l.a.hoveling

Unraveling the mediating pathways between socio-economic status and health

Lluis Mangot Sala NIDI

Life-course transitions, socio-economic status and health behaviors

Joanne Muller NIDI Socio-economic background, family life course and later life economic outcomes: a cros-national comparison
Jacobien Niebuur Sociology, health psychology j.niebuur Let Old be Gold
Maaike Pouw Internal Medicine/Geriatrics m.a.pouw Hospital at Home care for elderly patients with cognitive impairment: a randomized feasibility trial
Willem Vermeulen NIDI

Understanding differences in divorce rates between municipalities

Joyce Vrijsen Internal Medicine/Geriatrics j.vrijsen Uptake and effectiveness of Dementia Risk Reduction program among middle-aged people with a family history of dementia
Daniel van Wijk NIDI Job insecurity and family formation
Last modified:01 June 2022 3.31 p.m.