I was born in Subotica, a city in the north of Serbia. From my childhood I had a vision that I wanted to do something very important. It’s taken hard work and enthusiasm. I graduated from the medical faculty at the University of Novi Sad in 1981 and worked as general practitioner at an emergency health centre.
In 1988 I finished the specialisation of hygiene and medical ecology, and at that time had my first experience in public health nutrition. The dietary habits of the population of north Serbia are linked with high prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. I started to work with schoolchildren. I completed my master’s degree in 1990 and my PhD thesis in 1994.This work showed that cardiovascular disease risk factors were prevalent in schoolchildren. So as from 1995 I created a programme on prevention in pre-school age called ‘My heart, healthy heart’. I collaborated with print and broadcast media, resulting in several TV programmes and video films in which I participated.
In October 1999 I started to arrange a celebration in Subotica of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.World Food Day. From 2001-2003 this model was adopted for all FAO central European countries.
From 1985 to 2006 I worked at the Serbian institute of public health as head of the hygiene, food and nutrition section, and manager of the regional centre of nutrition which I established. Presently I am working as research team leader the institute for medical research, at the University of Belgrade.
I have published almost 300 peer-reviewed papers, and abstracts and reports in international and national journals. I have been the chair or a member of the scientific organising committees of many conferences and meetings. Some of the work I am engaged in links teaching and research, and especially capacity development.
I was nominated in 2009-2011 from the Serbian ministry of health as the expert group member responsible for nutrition and obesity prevention within the national prevention programme, which continues until 2020. As a member of the European Heart Network expert group on nutrition I am involved in preparing its new report on diet, physical activity and cardiovascular disease prevention.