Lifestyle, Overweight and Diabetes

Program directors: Prof. Mai Chin A Paw & Prof. Ingeborg Brouwer

Program secretary: Eline Vos


Overweight and Diabetes are two of the main public health problems of our society and are strongly linked to common Lifestyle determinants such as physical inactivity and poor dietary habits. Physical inactivity and overweight are also main factors contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease. This research program aims to curb the obesity and diabetes epidemics by identification of the primary lifestyle and biological determinants and by evaluation of efficient ways to improve lifestyle in order to prevent disease and to improve outcomes in people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Specific research themes 

  1. Pathophysiology and epidemiology of overweight and diabetes. This theme includes experimental and epidemiological studies of the biological, genetic and behavioral determinants of overweight and diabetes and their potential interrelations.
  2. Prevention of overweight and diabetes. Research projects pertaining to this theme aim to modify unhealthy lifestyles with a particular emphasis on improving dietary intake and promoting or increasing physical activity and reducing sedentariness.
  3. Care for patients with overweight and diabetes. Projects addressing the effectiveness and efficiency of health care aimed at chronic disease management of obesity and type-2 diabetes are central in this theme.

These themes are studied in children, adults and the elderly population.

Rationale and focus

Physical inactivity and overweight are two important factors contributing to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The program Lifestyle, Overweight and Diabetes combines the expertise of the pathophysiology and epidemiology of metabolic and cardiovascular abnormalities, expertise and practical experience of diabetes, prevention programs and the development of health care.

Future perspectives

The prevalence of obesity has risen over the last decades, and incidence and prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is still on the rise, in the Netherlands as well as abroad. Further curbing these epidemics requires better insight in their biological, including genetic, and behavioral determinants and their interactions and interrelations. Furthermore, there is still a lack of evidence-based prevention schemes and the growing number of patients asks for evidence-based chronic disease management interventions, including self-management schemes. For the coming years our research efforts will focus on gaining further insight in the causal pathways, effective lifestyle interventions to contribute to prevention, and on improving chronic disease management.

[last modified December 8, 2015]