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BEDREHELSE-Bedre helse og livskvalitet

Healthy choices and the social gradient

Alternative title: Sunne valg og sosiale ulikheter i helse

Awarded: NOK 50.2 mill.

In 2022, the project was granted an extension until the end of 2026. The former PI, I. Njølstad, has retired, and S. Grimsgaard is new PI from September 1st (WP1). Activity along the project's 4 main axes has picked up since reopening after the COVID pandemic. 1. Access to health data (WP2): In 2022, a joint data management unit was established to strengthen the capacity and availability of data from the UiT population studies, comprising the Tromsø Study, the Norwegian Women and Cancer study (NOWAC), SAMINOR and Fit Futures. Major development work on harmonization of metadata in the population studies is still ongoing and will be completed in 2023. A new variable explorer for all UiT population studies has been fully developed and will be launched for the Tromsø Study in Q1 2023. A newly created link between the Tromsø Study and the Norwegian Historical Population Register at UiT is the starting point for new research projects investigating developments in social inequality over generations. Our collaboration with e-health has continued in 2022 through participation in the steering council and ongoing development work. After the Health Analysis Platform was put on hold, we experience significant delays in links to national registers with subsequent delays in PhD and postdoctoral projects. 2. Research on social inequality in health (WP3,4): The Tromsø Study is the starting point for several publications examining indicators for social inequality, health behavior and morbidity. Geographical inequality in health is an upcoming area of research. Social inequality is a main theme when we now plan for new data collections in NOWAC (2023), SAMINOR (2023-25) and the Tromsø Study (2025-26). Intensive work is being done to establish scientific profile and content, ensure user dialogue and participation, and to obtain funding for new data collections. We organized a workshop with our international partners in Tromsø in September. The collaboration with Imperial College London, and INSERM, Toulouse, France has been strengthened through, physical meetings and outbound exchange for a postdoctoral fellow and a professor. Several publications are in process, submitted or published. 3. Targeted information about health and healthy health choices (WP3,5). The intervention study RESTART (336341/KSPSAMARBEID22) was granted NFR funding from 2023. The study aims to test a model for disease prevention in the municipalities (WP3.4). During the Norwegian Research Festival (Forskningsdagene), we organized an open meeting, "Sofa-dialogue", on "What makes good lives?" (80 registered), and a national one-day seminar on "User involvement in population research - Participation, dialogue and practice" (>80 registered), where both PROMENTA and CHAIN contributed. The population studies contribute to basis for public health work in the municipalities. We further contribute in planning of the Public Health Conference in Tromsø in 2023. In WP5, "Novel Science Communication", two research fellows explore communication channels for health messages, and core elements in good health research communication. We adhere to the main goals of WP5 but will revise content and activities in 2023. 4. Integration between education and research (WP6). Activity and interaction have picked up after the reopening. The content and design of a "Student Well-being Study" is planned in collaboration with the Student Parliament and the Student Association. Two pilot studies have been conducted about, with and for students: 1) The "Mental health and app study", mapping the use of self-help apps, is published. 2) The "Espresso coffee pilot" conducted in 2021 and is being processed for publication. A new pilot study (measurement of stress) is now starting with the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data.

Norway has two principal public health objectives; to improve population longevity and quality of life, and to reduce social inequality in health. Nevertheless, numerous reports show persistent social gradients within Norway and call for knowledge-based actions. The current understanding of behavior, biological markers and socioeconomic status is based on a simplistic understanding of the relationship between these and future risk of disease. As a result, intervention efforts at the individual and societal level have been limited in value. The current project has access to unique data sources that enable the combination of these factors not seen previously, enabled by cutting-edge novel analytical methods and technology. We will use large longitudinal population based data sets that includes information on ethnic and vulnerable groups, with up to 45 years of follow-up and (for some) self-reported information on childhood living conditions. Studying these factors through transition phases in life and in different studies allows us to identify specific risk factors and target groups of the population for future actions to reduce social inequalities in health. The interplay of factors, and understanding of at what time in the life course a factor or combination of factors best can be targeted for intervention, can provide the relevant knowledge base and actions needed for intervention. “Healthy Choices and the Social Gradient” addresses key priorities and areas put forward by the Health&Care 21 strategy for health. The proposal meets the call of the BEDREHELSE program with novel and innovative approaches. The platform brings together ongoing and planned research activities at UiT, national and international partners and research networks. A novel project for and with students will ensure research based training. Emphasis will be put on communication and knowledge building across social gradients and decision makers.

Publications from Cristin

Funding scheme:

BEDREHELSE-Bedre helse og livskvalitet