I grew up in a Swedish-speaking family and went to a Swedish speaking school in Finland. I started my university studies in nutrition in Finnish and for the first time I gained a close contact with the majority of the Finnish speaking society in Finland. Maybe this experience started my interest in looking at health in different population groups, and to understand why we behave in different ways depending on our ethnic, cultural and other backgrounds.
Basic nutrition studies did not give answers to such questions, and therefore I have searched for knowledge from other disciplines such as epidemiology, sociology, social medicine and public health. I have worked in projects focusing on inequality in health, and I did my post-doc work at the Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS) in Stockholm, Sweden. My main research interest for some years now, has been to explore how socioeconomic factors shape our everyday health-related behaviour. Especially I have wanted to increase our understanding of whether inequality in health is mediated by general ways of life, including dietary patterns.
I am now working for ‘Folkhälsan’, a non-governmental organisation, which undertakes both research and health promotion. This gives me a special possibility to combine research and practice. After doing research on determinants of health and health behaviour for years, I now also do research within the field of health promotion. In recent years we have begun interventions in school settings to promote healthy ways of life. Currently we are involved in a European school project, ‘Pro Greens’, which aims to improve the fruit and vegetable consumption of 11-year-olds in ten European countries. It has been very fruitful to be involved in this kind of project, where you can share ideas and experiences with colleagues from other countries.