Governing Obesity

Governing Obesity (GO) was set up to provide novel means for governing obesity and its consequences via effective interventions at the societal and individual level, from an early stage towards the morbidly obese individuals, while avoiding unintended and negative effects.

Project GO was one of 18 research initiatives established in 2013 as part of the University of Copenhagen Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research (2016). The initiative ended by the end of 2017.


A core assumption behind GO is that obesity is not one problem, but rather should be viewed as a complex challenge, which must be addressed differently depending on age, stage of obesity and severity of medical co-morbidities. This assumption is applied in GO by organizing the research in five interconnected work packages, each involving scientists from several faculties and scientific disciplines.











Work package 1: Assigning responsibility for governing obesity: political or individual? Actions, strategies and dilemmas in obesity interventions

This work package addressed the issue of responsibility for obesity ranging from the political to the individual level with specific focused on the ethical and other dilemmas to which obesity interventions give rise. It combined ethics and philosophy, law, history, policy analysis and epidemiology.


We wanted to investigate when and how public intervention is required and seen as legitimate from the perspectives of rights to health, privacy, non-discrimination, justice and beneficence. The project examined how actors frame and react towards obesity, assessed health-related and social consequences of these responses individually and societally, and outlined possibilities for new models to address the many challenges concerning governing obesity. The overall aim, then, was to rethink a series of questions concerning individual and societal responsibility.

Visions for societal impact

  • To provide inspiration and ‘food for thought’ for politicians and others deciding about obesity policies.
  • To point to new interventions that may reduce obesity problems and avoid some of the adversities of existing policies such as stigmatization and victim blaming.


We used an interdisciplinary approach comprising philosophical/ethical, legal, political and epidemiological perspectives on obesity.

Philosophy/ethics: an ethically defensible role for personal responsibility for one’s own weight.

This study proceeded to investigate how and to which extent “personal responsibility” for obesity can play an effective and justifiable positive role (Matravers et al., 2007, Wikler, 2012). Both legal, material and social studies will figure prominently as background here. The goal was to provide ethical input to new “models of responsibility”, which avoid two of the major pitfalls of the current discourses, i.e., seeing the agent as a puppet of structural determinants, and with no agency at all; or seeing the agent as fully accountable and responsible for obesity (Matravers et al., 2007, Segall 2010, Nielsen, 2011). This raises or intensifies a string of moral challenges, among these freedom of conscience and lifestyle, the justifiable scope of state interventions, and respect for family autonomy (Ten Have et al., 2011). A better understanding of these issues will provide valuable input to the development of legitimate models for future policies.

Legislation: regulating obesity – responsibility and limits to public interventions.

We investigated how the responsibility for preventing and treating obesity is addressed in the legal framework (Garde, 2010). How much authority and autonomy is left to the citizens, and when are governments obliged to provide services or to intervene to ensure the citizens right to health (Hartlev, 2012)? When assessing whether a state intervention is necessary and proportionate, epidemiological evidence on health risk and effects of interventions and ethical reasoning are of importance (Bayer & Fairchild, 2004, Gruskin & Tarantola, 2005). This was investigated through an analysis of international and national legislation, case law and a comparative analysis of Denmark, Sweden and the UK. The project also included an analysis of stigma and the attitude to obese persons in various settings, as well as an assessment of how this complies with the principle of non-discrimination, which enjoys increasing attention in international legislation.

Policy analysis: the political problematization of obesity, responsibility and the role of science.

How obesity, and its causes, is defined as a political problem makes up a crucial aspect of political decisions or at least the legitimation of them. Depending on whether obesity is considered a result of individual choices, the activities of food industry and retailers, other societal factors or a biological "addiction", the responsibility will be placed differently and different governing technologies would be suggested. We examine the role of scientific, above all epidemiological, evidence in the policy process, and how science is co-produced by scientist and policymakers (Jasanoff, 2005). The other aim was to study to which extent stigma related to the state of obesity, and occurring as a result of preventive activities, is addressed by the politicians. Finally, we examined whether, and if so how, social inequalities in obesity are addressed in the policies (Vallgårda, 2011, Wright & Harwood, 2009). In these processes, emotional, moral as well as aesthetic aspects may play a central role (Saguy & Riley, 2005). Danish policy was compared to that of UK and Sweden.

Epidemiology: long-term health effects of changes in body weight and shape.

Epidemiological studies address long-term effects on morbidity and mortality of changes in bodyweight and -shape induced by various actions, including the types of interventions dealt with in workpackage 2,3 and 4. Determinants for beneficial and harmful effects are investigated and interpreted in the light of novel theories about the mechanisms of the harmful effects of obesity (Sørensen et al., 2010). Data was drawn from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, combining information from birth, childhood and through adulthood with repeated anthropometrics and register-based record linkages. Advanced statistical methods where used as appropriate for quantitative estimation of the associations as exemplified in more limited previous studies (Sørensen et al., 2005, Zimmermann et al., 2012, Zimmermann et al., Apr 2011,Zimmermann et al., Sep 2011). The project generated knowledge, which is of crucial importance in the analyses of responsibilities in governing obesity.










































































About project GO

The initiative was the next step in the establishment of truly integrated interdisciplinary obesity research at University of Copenhagen, harvesting the synergy at the interface between the disciplines and still exploiting the scientific excellence in each discipline.










Obesity is a rapidly growing public health challenge, and it is becoming one of the main health problems in the world with high societal and individual costs.

We know that to fully unravel the challenge of the obesity epidemic, we must take into account the obesogenic environment, the obese citizens and the way society and individuals address obesity combining insights from different scientific disciplines. By combining social sciences and humanities with clinical research, physical activity, nutrition, biomedical sciences and epidemiology, we will be able to answer new questions and thereby securing new findings, solutions and greater impact in obesity research.



















The researchers in Governing Obesity included a number of international collaborations.

Scientists from Governing Obesity established an EU network for 'Social Sciences and Humanities'- to identify ways to unleash the potential of the full spectra of the social sciences and humanities in obesity research as well as support and showcase genuine transdisciplinary obesity research that combine biomedical sciences and social sciences and humanities.

































Members of the GO Scientific Advisory Board

Angus DawsonProfessor Angus Dawson
University of Sydney, AUS
Professor of Bioethics and Director Centre of Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) School of Public Health

Carel Le Roux

Professor Carel Le Roux
University College Dublin, Ireland
Head of Pathology

Cathrine Lyall

Professor Catherine Lyall
University of Edinburgh, UK
Professor of Science and Public Policy

Marie-Francoise Rolland-Cachera

Professor Marie-Francoise Rolland-Cachera
Paris 13 University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, France
Honorary Researcher
Head of the Childhood obesity group, Equipe de Recherche en Epidémiologie Nutritionnelle (EREN), Inserm, Inra, Cnam

Robert Roos

Dr. Robert Ross, Ph.D.
Queen's University, Canada
Professor in Exercise Physiology
Director, Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE)

Simon Cohn

Dr. Simon Cohn
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK
Medical Anthropologist
Senior University Lecture












Societal framings - Work package 1

Professor Peter Sandøe
Work package-leader
Department of Large Animal Sciences - Population Biology
Department of Food and Resource Economics

Professor Mette Hartlev
Research centre WELMA

Professor Signild Vallgårda
Department of Public Health

Professor Thorkild IA Sørensen
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
The Department of Public Health

Associate Professor Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen
Department of Media, Cognition and Communication

PhD student Camilla Lawaetz Vimmelmann
Department of Public Health

PhD student Celine Brassart Olsen
Faculty of Law

PhD student Katharina O Cathaoir
Faculty of Law

Early life interventions - Work package 2

Professor Kim F Michaelsen
Work package-leader
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Professor Anne Løkke

Professor Lotte Holm
Department of Food and Resource Economics

Professor Ole Pryds
Department of Clinical Medicine

Professor Thorkild IA Sørensen
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
The Department of Public Health

Professor Torben Hansen
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

Postdoc Anne Katrine Kleeberg Hansen

Postdoc Camilla Morgen
Institute of Preventive Medicine

Assistant professor Camilla Trab Damsgaard
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Associate professor Christian Mølgaard
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Associate Professor Christian Ritz
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Research assistant Christian Theil Have
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

PhD student Drude Skov Lauridsen
Consumption, Bioethics and Governance

PhD student Theresia Schnurr
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

PhD student Melanie Wange Larsson
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Lifestyle routines - Work package 3

Professor Bente M. Stallknecht
Work package-leader and head of GO
Department of Biomedical Sciences

Associate Professor Astrid Pernille Jespersen

Professor Jens Juul Holst
Department of Biomedical Sciences

Professor Torben Hansen
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

Postdoc Mads Rosenkilde Larsen
Department of Biomedical Sciences

PhD student Anne Sofie Gram
Department of Biomedical Sciences

PhD student Jonas Winther
Department of Biomedical Sciences

PhD student Jonas Salling Quist
Department of Biomedical Sciences

PhD student Martin Bæk Petersen
Department of Biomedical Science

PhD student Theresia Schnurr
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

Gastric bypass - Work package 4

Associate professor Anders SjødinWork package-leader
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

MD PhD Andrea Karen Floyd
Bariatric Clinic, Department of Surgery at Køge Sygehus (in Danish)

Professor Anja Hilbert
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases (IFB)

Professor Jens Juul Holst
Department of Biomedical Sciences

MD Lars Peter Skat Naver
Bariatric Clinic, Department of Surgery at Køge Sygehus (in Danish)

Professor Lotte Holm
Department of Food and Resource Economics

Associate Professor Susanne Lunn
Department of Psychology

Professor Torben Hansen
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

Professor Thue W Schwartz
Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology

Postdoc Bodil Just Christensen
Department of Food and Resource Economics

Postdoc Julie Berg Schmidt
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

PhD student Louise Tækker
Department of Psychology

PhD student Mette Søndergaard Nielsen
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Interdisciplinary knowledge production - Work package 5

Associate Professor Astrid Pernille Jespersen
Work package-leader
The SAXO institute

Professor Maja Horst
Department of Media, Cognition and Communication

Post doc Line Hillersdal
The SAXO institute

Research Coordination Unit

Camilla Verdich, Research Coordinator 












The list only include publications published during the project period which ended in the spring 2018, more papers have been published after the end of the project period.

Societal framings (WP 1)

Published 2018

  • Olsen, CEJL Brassart Co-author. Obesity prevention and international law in global health law. Edited by Gian Luca, with Mette Hartlev and Katharina Ó Cathaoir. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018
  • Olsen, CEJL Brassart Co-author. Retlig regulering og personligt ansvar for forebyggelse af kroniske sygdomme. In Folkesundhed, with Mette Hartlev and Katharina Ó Cathaoir. Gads Forlag, 2018
  • Ó Cathaoir, K and Hartlev, M, Olsen CEJL Brassart: Global health law and obesity: towards a complementary approach of public health and human rights law. In Global Health Law Book. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018.
  • Ó Cathaoir, K and Hartlev, M: Ending Childhood Obesity. The child´s right to health as a tool to end Childhood obesity. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018
  • Sørensen TIA. From fat cells through an obesity theory. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Published 2017

  • Hartlev M. ”Stigmatisering på grund af overvægt: retlig eftertanke”, i Mette Hartlev, Stine Jørgensen, Helga Aune og Anne Hellum (red.), ”Ketch me if you can – sociale rettigheder og ligestilling: Hyldest til Kirsten Ketscher”, København: Karnov Group. 2017; 1 186-195.
  • Ó Cathaoir, Katharina Eva. Food Marketing to Children in Sweden and Denmark: a Missed Opportunity for Nordic Leadership. European Journal of Risk Regulation. 2017; Vol. 8, No. 2, 07, p. 283-297.
  • Vallgårda S, Nielsen MEJ, Hansen AKK, Ó Cathaoir K, Hartlev M, Holm L, Christensen BJ, Jensen JD, Sørensen TIA, Sandøe P. Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease? – A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017; 71: 1263–1267.
  • Vallgårda S. Childhood obesity policies - mighty concerns, meek reactions. Obesity Reviews. 2017.
  • Vallgårda S. The Danish trans-fatty acids ban – alliances, mental maps and co-production of policies and research. Evidence and Policy. 2017.
  • Wimmelmann CL. Performing compliance: the work of local policy workers during the implementation of national health promotion guidelines. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice. 2017; Volume 13, Number 3, pp. 417-432(16)
  • Wimmelmann, Camilla Lawaetz. Local enactments of national health promotion policies: A Danish case. International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 2017.

Published 2016

  • Andersen, M. M., & Nielsen, MEJ. Personal Responsibility and Lifestyle Diseases. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 2016; 41(5), 480-499. DOI: 10.1093/jmp/jhw015
  • Frederiksen, C. S., & Nielsen, MEJ. Fødevarer: Virksomheders samfundsmæssige ansvar. I C. Coff (red.), Fødevareetik s. 199-223. København: Munksgaard, 2016.
  • Nielsen MEJ, & Landes, X. Fighting status inequalities: non-domination vs non-interference. Public Health Ethics. 2016; 9(2), 155-163.
  • Nielsen MEJ. Health Labeling. I M. C. Rawlinson, & C. Ward (red.), Routledge handbook of food ethics. 2016; s. 148-157. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • Nielsen MEJ, & Jensen, J. D. Sin taxes, paternalism, and justifiability to all: Can paternalistic taxes be justified on a public reason-sensitive account? Journal of Social Philosophy. 2016; 47(1), 55-69.
  • Ó Cathaoir K. A Human Rights Approach to Childhood Obesity, Health and Human Rights, 2016.
  • Ó Cathaoir K. Child Rights as a Basis for the Regulation of Food Marketing : The Role of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Taking Stock after 25 Years and Looking Ahead. ed. / Ton Liefaard; Julia Sloth-Nielsen. Leiden - Boston : Brill p. 564-588, 2016.
  • Sikorski C*, Spahlholz J*, Hartlev M, Riedel-Heller SG. Weight-based discrimination: An ubiquitary phenomenon? Int J Obes. 2016; 40(2):333-7.
  • Vallgårda S: Ethics dilemmas of early detection of obesity, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2016; 1–3.
  • Wimmelmann CL: Performing compliance: The work of local policy workers during the implementation of national health promotion guidelines. Evidence and Policy. 2016; Print ISSN 1744 2648. Online ISSN 1744 2656.
  • Wimmelmann CL, Vallgårda S. Jensen AMB. Meet the local policy workers: Implementation of health promotion guidelines in Denmark. Public Policy and Administration. 2016; Vol. 33(1) 66–87.

Published 2015

  • Jensen AB, Ajslev TA, Brunak S, Sørensen TIA. Long-term risk of cardio- and cerebrovascular disease after removal of the colonic microbiota by colectomy: a cohort study based on the Danish National Patient Register from 1996 through 2014. BMJ Open 2015.
  • Lund TB, Nielsen MEJ & Sandøe P. In a class of their own: the Danish public considers obesity less deserving of treatment compared with smoking-related diseases, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015; vol 69, pp. 514-518.
  • Nielsen MEJ. CSR og fødevarer, (CSR and food), w. Claus Strue in Fødevarer og Etik, Red. Chriatian Coff (accepted)
  • Nielsen MEJ, Food labeling, in Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics (ed. Rawlinson) (accepted)
  • Nielsen MEJ, & Andersen MM. Luck Egalitarianism, Universal Health Care, and Non-Responsibility-Based Reasons for Responsibilization, Res Publica. 2015; 21, 2, s. 201-216 16 s.
  • Nielsen MEJ. Forbandede Sunddom, Dreamlitt. 2015; 162 s.
  • Nielsen, MEJ., Andersen, M.M., Personal Responsibility and Lifestyle Diseases, Journal of Philosophy and Medicine, 2015.
  • Nielsen, M. E. J., Fødevarer - hvad må staten blande sig i?, in Det svære valg: udfordringer for den etiske forbruger. Kbh.: Det etiske råd. 2015; s. 145-155.
  • Nielsen MEJ. & Landes X. Fighting status inequalities, Journal of Public Health Ethics, 2015.
  • Nielsen MEJ. Health labeling, in Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics, accepted
  • Ó Cathaoir K. Food Marketing to Children and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2015.
  • Ó Cathaoir K, On Obesity as a Disability, 1 European Journal of Risk Regulation. 2015; 145.
  • Vallgårda S, Holm L, Jensen JD. The Danish tax on saturated fat: why it did not survive. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015; 69: 223–226.
  • Vallgårda S, Nielsen MEJ, Hartlev M, Sandøe P. Backward- and forward-looking responsibility for obesity: Policies from WHO, the EU and England. European Journal of Public Health. 2015.
  • Vallgårda S. English obesity policies: to govern and not to govern. Health Policy. 2015; 119: 743-748.
  • Vallgårda S: Governing obesity. Policies from England, France, Germany and Scotland. Social Science & Medicine. 2015.
  • Zimmermann E, Gamborg M, Holst C, Baker JL, Sørensen TIA, Berentzen TL. Body mass index in school-aged children and the risk of routinely diagnosed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adulthood: a prospective study based on the Copenhagen School Health Records Register. BMJ Open. 2015; 5:e006998.

Published 2014

  • Hartlev M, Stigmatisation as a Public Health Tool Against Obesity – A health and Human Rights Perspective, European Journal of Health Law. 2014; Vol. 21. pp. 365-386.
  • Lund, Thomas Bøker; Nielsen, Morten Ebbe Juul; Sandøe, Peter, In a class of their own : the Danish public considers obesity less deserving of treatment compared with smoking-related diseases. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,. 2014.
  • Nielsen, Morten Ebbe Juul; Andersen, Martin Marchman. Should we Hold the Obese Responsible? Some Key Issues, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 2014; Vol. 23, Issue 04, pp 443-451
  • Ó Cathaoir, Katharina Eva. Court of Justice Upholds the Tobacco Products Directive 2014 In: European Journal of Risk Regulation. 2016; Vol. 7, No. 3, 09, p. 623 - 628.
  • Sandøe P, Palmer C, Corr S, Astrup A & Bjørnvad CR. Canine and feline obesity: a One Health perspective. Veterinary Record 2014; 175 (24): 610-616.
  • Sørensen TIA. Challenges in understanding development of obesity [Book chapter 1]. In: Molecular Mecha-nisms Underpinning the Development of Obesity, Editors: Nobrega, PhD, Clevio, Rodriguez-Lopez, PhD, Raquel (Eds.). Springer 2014; ISBN 978-3-319-12766-8
  • Sørensen TIA. Challenges in understanding development of obesity [Book chapter 1]. In: Molecular Mechanisms Underpinning the Development of Obesity. Nobrega C, Rodriguez-Lopez R. (Eds.). Springer 2014; pp 1-9.

Published 2013

  • Hartlev M. Equal Access to Health Care on a Non-Discriminatory Basis - Reality or Aspiration? European Journal of Health Law. 2013; Vol. 20, pp. 343-346.
  • Hartlev M. Om retten til egen livsstil – og dens grænser. Kirsten Ketscher; Kåre Lilleholt; Eivind Smith & Aslak Syse (ed.), i: Velferd og rettferd : Festskrift til Asbjørn Kjønstad 70 år, Oslo. 2013; pp. 227-239.
  • Zimmermann E, Berentzen TL, Ängquist L, Holst C, Sørensen TIA. Long-term weight changes in obese young adult men and subsequent all-cause mortality. Int J Obes. 2013; 37:1020-1025.
  • Østergaard JN, Grønbæk M, Ängquist L, Schnohr P, Sørensen TIA, Heitmann BL. Combined influence of leisure time physical activity and hip circumference on all-cause mortality. Obesity, 2013; 21:E78-E85.

Early life interventions (WP 2)

Published 2018

  • Eriksen KG, Christensen SH, Lind MV, Michaelsen KF. Human milk composition and infant growth. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2018 Feb 15.
  • Eriksen KG, Lind MV, Larnkjær A, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF. Early Nutrition and Its Effect on Growth, Body Composition and Later Obesity. World Rev Nutr Diet. 2018;117:111-128.
  • Morgen CS, Ängquist L, Baker JL, Andersen AMN, Michaelsen KF, Sørensen TIA. Breastfeeding and complementary feeding in relation to BMI at age 7 and 11 years- a path analysis within the Danish National Birth Cohort.  Am J Clin Nutr 2018;107:313–322
  • Schnurr TM, Viitasalo A, Eloranta AM, Damsgaard CT, Mahendran Y, Have CT, Väistö J, Hjorth MF, Christensen LB, Brage S, Atalay M, Lyytikäinen LP, Lindi V, Lakka T, Michaelsen KF, Kilpeläinen TO, Hansen T. Genetic predisposition to adiposity is associated with increased objectively assessed sedentary time in young children. Int J Obes (Lond). 2018 Jan;42(1):111-114.

Published 2017

  • Andersen KR, Harsløf LB, Schnurr TM, Hansen T, Hellgren LI, Michaelsen KF, Lauritzen L. A study of associations between early DHA status and fatty acid desaturase (FADS) SNP and developmental outcomes in children of obese mothers. Br J Nutr. 2017 Jan;117(2):278-286.
  • Hartwig FP, Davies NM, Horta BL, Ahluwalia TS, Bisgaard H, Bonnelykke K, Caspi A, Moffitt T, Poulton R, Sajjad A, Tiemeier HW, Dalmau Bueno A, Guxens M, Bustamante Pineda M, Santa-Marina L, Parker N, Paus T, Pausova Z, Lauritzen L, Schnurr TM, Michaelsen KF, Hansen T, Oddy W, Pennell CE, Warrington NM, Davey Smith G, Victora CG: Effect modification of FADS2 polymorphisms on the association between breastfeeding and intelligence: results from a collaborative meta-analysis. bioRxiv 2017; doi:
  • Laursen MF, Laursen RP, Larnkjær A, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF, Frøkiær H, Bahl MI, Licht TR. Faecalibacterium Gut Colonization Is Accelerated by Presence of Older Siblings. mSphere. 2017 Nov 29;2(6). pii: e00448-17.
  • Laursen MF, Bahl MI, Michaelsen KF, Licht TR. First Foods and Gut Microbes. Front Microbiol. 2017 Mar 6;8:356.
  • Lind MV, Larnkjær A, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF. Early Nutrition and Its Effect on Growth, Body Composition, and Later Obesity. World Rev Nutr Diet. 2017;116:118-133.
  • Lind MV, Larnkjær A, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF. Dietary protein intake and quality in early life: impact on growth and obesity. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):71-76. Review.
  • Michaelsen KF, Grummer-Strawn L, Bégin F. Emerging issues in complementary feeding: Global aspects. Matern Child Nutr. 2017 Oct;13 Suppl 2.
  • Morgen CS, Andersen PK, Mortensen LH, Howe LD, Rasmussen M, Due P, Sørensen TIA, Andersen AMN. Socioeconomic disparities in BMI from birth to age 7 years – a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort. BMJ Open. 2017 Jan 20;7(1):e011781.
  • Morgen CS, Ängquist L, Baker JL, Andersen AMN, Michaelsen KF, Sørensen TIA. Prenatal risk factors influencing childhood BMI and overweight independent of birth weight and infancy BMI: a path analysis within the Danish National Birth Cohort. Int J Obes. 2017 Sep 8.
  • Møller NC, Christensen LB, Mølgaard C, Ejlerskov KT, Pfeiffer KA, Michaelsen KF. Descriptive analysis of preschool physical activity and sedentary behaviors -a cross sectional study of 3-year-olds nested in the SKOT cohort. BMC Public Health. 2017 Jun 30;17(1):613.
  • NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC, among 1040 collaborators). Worldwide trends in body-mass index, underweight, overweight, and obesity from 1975 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 2416 population-based measurement studies in 128·9 million children, adolescents, and  adults. Lancet. 2017 Dec 16;390(10113):2627-2642.
  • Rolland-Cachera MF, Briend A, Michaelsen KF. Dietary fat restrictions in young children and the later risk of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jun;105(6):1566-1567.
  • Schnurr TM, Bech B, Nielsen TRH, Andersen IG, Hjorth MF, Aadahl M, Fonvig CE, Hansen T, Holm JC. Self-Reported Versus Accelerometer-Assessed Daily Physical Activity in Childhood Obesity Treatment. Percept Mot Skills. 2017 Aug;124(4):795-811.
  • Nyvang C and Kleberg Hansen AK. Modermælken og dens erstatninger. En fødevarebiografi (mothers milk and its substitution- a food biography), 1867-1980. Historisk Tidsskrift. 2017; 116, vol 2, pp. 334-368

Published 2016

  • Larnkjær A, Bruun S, Pedersen D, Zachariassen G, Barkholt V, Agostoni C, Mølgaard C, Husby S, Michaelsen KF. Free Amino Acids in Human Milk and Associations with Maternal Anthropometry and Infant Growth. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2016; [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26967825.
  • Larsen SC, Ängquist L, Laurin C, Morgen CS, Jakobsen MU, Paternoster L, Smith GD, Olsen SF, Sørensen TIA, Nøhr E. Association between maternal fish consumption and gestational weight gain: influence of molecular genetic predisposition to obesity. PLoS One 2016; 11:e0150105.
  • Laursen MF, Andersen LBB, Michaelsen KF, Mølgaard C, Trolle E, Bahl MI, Licht TR. Infant gut microbiota development is driven by transition to family foods independent of maternal obesity. mSphere. 2016; 1(1):e00069-15. doi:10.1128/mSphere.00069-15.
  • Michaelsen KF, Larnkjær A, Larsson MW, Mølgaard C. Early Nutrition and Its Effects on Growth, Body Composition and Later Obesity. World Rev Nutr Diet. 2016; 114:103-19. doi: 10.1159/000441820. Epub 2016 Feb 23. PubMed PMID: 26906608.
  • Schnurr TM, Gjesing AP, Sandholt CH, Jonsson A, Mahendran Y, Have CT, Ekstrøm CT, Bjerregaard AL, Brage S, Witte DR, Jørgensen ME, Aadahl M, Thuesen BH, Linneberg A, Eiberg H, Pedersen O, Grarup N, Kilpeläinen TO, Hansen T. Genetic Correlation between Body Fat Percentage and Cardiorespiratory Fitness Suggests Common Genetic Etiology. PLoS One. 2016 Nov 15;11(11):e0166738.
  • Sørensen TIA, Ajslev TA, Ängquist L, Morgen CS, Ciuchi IG, Smith GD. Comparison of influences of maternal peri-pregnancy with paternal anthropometrics on child anthropometrics from birth through age 7 years assessed in The Danish National Birth Cohort. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 Aug; 104:389-96.

Published 2015

  • Ajslev TA, Ängquist L, Silventoinen K, Baker JL, Sørensen TI. Stable intergenerational associations of childhood overweight during the development of the obesity epidemic. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015; 23(6):1279-87.
  • Andersen LB, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF, Carlsen EM, Bro R, Pipper CB. Indicators of dietary patterns in Danish infants at 9 months of age. Food Nutr, Res. 2015;  24;59:27665. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v59.27665. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26111966; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4481065.
  • Benjamin Neelon SE, Schou Andersen C, Schmidt Morgen C, Kamper-Jørgensen M, Oken E, Gillman MW, Sørensen TIA. Early child care and obesity at 12 months of age in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Int J Obes (Lond). 2015 Jan; 39(1):33-8.
  • Dalskov SM, Ritz C, Larnkjær A, Damsgaard CT, Petersen RA, Sørensen LB, Hjorth MF, Ong KK, Astrup A, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF. Seasonal variations in growth and body composition of 8-11-year-old Danish children. Pediatr Res. 2015.
  • Dalskov SM, Ritz C, Larnkjær A, Damsgaard CT, Petersen RA, Sørensen LB, Ong KK, Astrup A, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF. The role of leptin and other hormones related to bone metabolism and appetite regulation as determinants of gain in body fat and fat-free mass in 8-11-year-old children. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; 100(3):1196-205.
  • Ejlerskov KT, Christensen LB, Ritz C, Jensen SM, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF. The impact of early growth patterns and infant feeding on body composition at 3 years of age. Br J Nutr. 2015; 114(2):316-27.
  • Jensen SM, Ritz C, Ejlerskov KT, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF. Infant BMI peak, breastfeeding, and body composition at age 3 y. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Feb; 101(2):319-25.
  • Larnkjaer A, Arnberg K, Michaelsen KF, Jensen SM, Mølgaard C. Effect of increased intake of skimmed milk, casein, whey or water on body composition and leptin in overweight adolescents: a randomized trial. Pediatr Obes. 2015.
  • Sørensen TIA. Childhood maltreatment and obesity. [Commentary] Obesity. 2015; 23:1528.
  • Sørensen TIA. Childhood maltreatment and obesity. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2015; 18(4):410-8.

Published 2014

  • Bergström A, Skov TH, Bahl MI, Roager HM, Christensen LB, Ejlerskov KT, Mølgaard C, Michaelsen KF, Licht TR. Establishment of intestinal microbiota during early life: a longitudinal, explorative study of a large cohort of Danish infants. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014; 80:2889-900.
  • Ejlerskov KT, Jensen SM, Christensen LB, Ritz C, Michaelsen KF, Mølgaard C. Prediction of fat-free body mass from bioelectrical impedance and anthropometry among 3-year-old children using DXA. Sci Rep. 2014; 4:3889.
  • Løkke, A. 'Liv og død på dåse. Markedet for industrielt fremstillet modermælkserstatning og amning i verdens fattige lande, Skandinavien og USA i det tyvende århundrede.'. i M-BO Nielsen (red.), Å selge liv og død. Kommersielle strategier og kulturuttrykk i markedsføring av død og dødsfrykt. University Press, University of Eastern Finland, Finland. 214; s. 52-175.
  • Møller SE, Ajslev TA, Andersen CS, Dalgård C, Sørensen TIA. Risk of childhood overweight after exposure to tobacco smoking in prenatal and early postnatal life. PLoS ONE 2014; 9:e109184.
  • Morgen CS & Sørensen TIA. Global trends in the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014; 10(9):513-4.
  • Morgen CS, Rokholm B, Brixval CS, Andersen CS, Andersen LG, Rasmussen M, Andersen A-MN, Due P, Sørensen TIA. Trends in prevalence of overweight and obesity in Danish infants, children and adolescents - Are we still on a plateau? PLoS One 2013; 8:e69860.
  • Neelon SB, Andersen CS, Morgen CS, Kamper-Jørgensen M, Oken E, Gillman MW, Sørensen TIA. Early child care and obesity at 12 months of age in the Danish National Birth Cohort, International Journal of Obesity. 2014 [Epub ahead of print].


Published 2018

  • Rosenkilde M, Rygaard L, Nordby P, Nielsen LB, Stallknecht B. Exercise and weight loss effects on cardiovascular risk factors in overweight men. J Appl Physiol. 2018 Mar 15. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01092.2017.

Published 2017

  • Bladbjerg EM, J Skov, P Nordby, and B Stallknecht. Endurance exercise per se reduces the cardiovascular risk marker t-PA antigen in healthy, younger, overweight men. Thromb.Res. 2017; 152: 69-73.
  • Gram AS, EM Bladbjerg, JS Quist, MB Petersen, M Rosenkilde, and B Stallknecht. Anti-inflammatory effects of active commuting and leisure time exercise in overweight and obese women and men – a randomized controlled trial. Atherosclerosis. 2017; 265: 318-24.
  • Rosenkilde M, MB Petersen, AS Gram, JS Quist, J Winther, SD Kamronn, DH Milling, JE Larsen, AP Jespersen, and B Stallknecht. The GO-ACTIWE randomized controlled trial. An interdisciplinary study designed to investigate health effects of active commuting and leisure time physical activity. Contemp.Clin.Trials. 2017; 53: 122-29.
  • Quist JS, M Rosenkilde, MB Petersen, AS Gram, A Sjödin, and B Stallknecht. Effects of active commuting and leisure-time exercise on fat loss in women and men with overweight and obesity: a randomized controlled trial. Int.J.Obes. 2017; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.253. [Epub ahead of print]

Published 2016

  • Nielsen MS, Quist JS, Chaput JP, Dalskov SM, Damsgaard CT, Ritz C, Astrup A, Michaelsen KF, Sjödin A, Hjorth MF. Physical Activity, Sedentary Time, and Sleep and the Association With Inflammatory Markers and Adiponectin in 8- to 11-Year-Old Danish Children. J Phys Act Health. 2016.
  • Rosenkilde M. Vacation weight gain – is it really that bad? Physiol Behav. 2016;  23;158:33.
  • Rosenkilde M, Nordby P, Stallknecht B. Maintenance of improvements in fitness and fatness one year after a 3-month lifestyle intervention in overweight men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016

Published 2015

  • Christensen AN, Larsen CT, Petersen MB, Conradsen K, Andersen VD. Software-Package for Automated Bias-Field Correction and Quantication of Abdominal Fat using MRI with Preliminary Evaluation in Overweight Subjects. Technical Report - DTU Compute, 2015.
  • Gram AS, Bladbjerg EM, Skov J, Ploug T, Sjödin A, Rosenkilde M, Madsen DE, Stallknecht BM. Three months of strictly controlled daily endurance exercise reduces thrombin generation and fibrinolytic risk markers in younger moderately overweight men. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015; 115(6): 1331-8..
  • Quist JS, Sjödin A, Chaput JP, Hjorth MF. Sleep and cardiometabolic risk in children and adolescents. Sleep Med Rev. 2015; 12;29:76-100
  • Rosenkilde M, Morville T, Andersen PR, Kjær K, Rasmusen H, Holst JJ, Dela F, Westerterp K, Sjödin A, Helge JW. Inability to match energy intake with energy expenditure at sustained near-maximal rates of energy expenditure in older men during a 14-d cycling expedition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015; 102(6):1398-405.
  • Rosenkilde M, Nordby P, Ploug T, Westh K, Feigh M, Nielsen NB, Helge JW, Stallknecht B. Independent effects of endurance training and weight loss on peak fat oxidation in moderately overweight men; a randomized controlled trial. J Appl Physiol. 2015; 118 (7), 803-10.
  • Rosenkilde M, Reichendler MH, Auerbach P, Bonne TC, Sjödin A, Ploug T, Stallknecht BM. Changes in peak fat oxidation in response to different doses of endurance training. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015; 25 (1), 41-52.

Published 2014

  • Gram, A.S., J. Bønnelycke, M. Rosenkilde, M. Reichkendler, P. Auerbach, A. Sjödin, T. Ploug, A. Jespersen and B. Stallknecht. Compliance with physical exercise: using a multidisciplinary approach within a dose-dependent exercise study of moderately overweight men. Scand.J.Public Health 42. 2014; 38-44.
  • Gram AS, J Skov, T Ploug, JJ Sidelmann, BM Stallknecht, and EM Bladbjerg. Biomarkers of coagulation, fibrinolysis, endothelial function, and inflammation in arterialized venous blood. Blood Coagul.Fibrinolysis 25. 2014; 349-52.
  • Hjorth MF, Quist JS, Andersen R, Michaelsen KF, Tetens I, Astrup A, Chaput JP, Sjödin A. Change in sleep duration and proposed dietary risk factors for obesity in Danish school children. Pediatr Obes. 2014; 9(6):e156-9.
  • Jespersen AP, Bønnelycke J, Eriksen HH. Careful science? Bodywork and care practices in random-ised clinical trials. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2014; 36: 655–669.
  • Kjeldsen JS, Hjorth MF, Andersen R, Michaelsen KF, Tetens I, Astrup A, Chaput JP, Sjödin A. Short sleep duration and large variability in sleep duration are associated with dietary risk factors for obesity in Danish school children. International Journal of Obesity, 2014.

Gastric bypass - GO-Bypass (WP 4)

Published 2018

  • Christensen BJ, Schmidt JB, Nielsen MS, Tækker L, Holm L, Lunn S,  Bredie WLP, Ritz C, Holst JJ, Hansen T, Hilbert A, le Roux CW, Hulme OJ, Siebner H, Morville T, Naver L, Floyd AK, Sjödin A. Patient profiling for success after weight loss surgery (GO Bypass study): An interdisciplinary study protocol. Accepted in Contemporary Clinical Trial Communications, available at

Published 2017

  • Cameron JD, Chaput JP, Sjödin AM, Goldfield GS. Brain on Fire: Incentive Salience, Hedonic Hot Spots, Dopamine, Obesity, and Other Hunger Games.  Annu Rev Nutr. 2017;37:183-205.
  • Nielsen MS, Christensen BJ, Ritz C, Rasmussen S, Hansen TT, Bredie WLP, le Roux CW, Sjödin A, Schmidt JB. Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy Does Not Affect Food Preferences When Assessed by an Ad libitum Buffet Meal. Obes Surg. 2017;27(10):2599-2605.

Published  2016

  • Hansen TT, Jakobsen TA, Nielsen MS, Sjödin A, Le Roux CW & Schmidt JB: Hedonic Changes in Food Choices Following Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, OBES SURG. 2016.

Published 2015

  • Hillersdal L, Christensen BJ, Holm L. Patients' Strategies for Eating after Gastric Bypass Surgery: A Qualitative Study. EJCN, 2015.
  • Schmidt JB, Pedersen SD, Gregersen NT, Vestergaard L, Nielsen MS, Ritz C, Madsbad S, Worm D, Hansen DL, Clausen TR, Rehfeld JF, Astrup A, Holst JJ, Sjödin A. Effects of RYGB on energy expenditure, appetite and glycaemic control: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.162.

Interdisciplinary knowledge production (WP 5)

Published 2018

  • Christensen BJ, Hillersdal L. The taste of intervention, In: Making taste Public by Counihan, C and Højlund, S. Bloomsbury, 2018.

Published 2017

  • Christensen BJ, Hillersdal L, Holm L. Working with a fractional object: enactments of appetite in interdisciplinary work in anthropology and biomedicine. Anthropol Med. 2017; 24(2):221-235.
  • Hillersdal L, Christensen BJ, Holm L. Changing tastes: learning hunger and fullness after weight-loss surgery, Sociology of Health and Illness. 2017; Vol. 39 No. 3, ISSN 0141-9889, pp. 474–487
  • Jensen T, L Grønnow, AP Jespersen. Eating Strategies: An analysis of how frail, home-dwelling older people in Denmark develop strategies to form meaningful eating situations. In: Ageing and Society. 2017; doi:10.1017/S0144686X17001076
  • Jespersen AP, M Sandberg, S Mellemgaard. Kulturanalyse som refleksiv praksis. In: Christensen, Jespersen, Mellemgaard og Sandberg (red.): Kultur som praksis – etnologiske perspektiver på individualitet og fællesskab, kultur og historie. Hans Reitzels Forlag, p. 141-184 2017.
  • Lindvig K, Earle D, Hillersdal L. Fast-tracking interdisciplinary learning and collaboration Intergrative Pathways. 2017; Vol. 38, No. 2.

Published 2016

  • Hillersdal L, Christensen BJ, Holm L. Changing Tastes: Learning hunger and fullness after gastric bypass surgery. Sociology of Health and Illness. 2016.

Published 2015

  • Hillersdal L, Christensen BJ, Holm L. Patients strategies for Eating after Gastric Bypass Surgery. European Journal of Human Nutrition. 2015.



Publications originated from GO

All publications originating from the Governing Obesity initiative must have the following reference in a footnote, either in the beginning or at the end of the paper:

“The work is carried out as a part of the research programme "Governing Obesity" funded by the University of Copenhagen Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research“

Publications to which GO has contributed

For publications where Governing Obesity has contributed with shared knowledge, manpower (i.e., salary for staff during the writing process) or other resources that have led to novel research or publication, we encourage the use of the following acknowledgement:

“The work is supported by the research programme "Governing Obesity" funded by the University of Copenhagen Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research“

Questions regarding acknowledgement in publications can be sent to Research Coordinator Camilla Verdich at











Head of Governing Obesity
Bente Merete Stallknecht
Prorector, Professor

Phone +45 3532 7540