WR86: Lifestyle Epidemiology


29, 30, 31 January 2020 Tuition fee: € 950,-
Course coordinator:
Jeroen Lakerveld, PhD
Learning method:
Lectures and practica
Written examination (facultative)
Examination dates:
See schedule at 'Tentamens'
Number of EC:
  • Course discription

    Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), comprising mainly of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancers and diabetes, are the leading causes of death globally. To a large extent, NCDs are caused by lifestyle factors including unhealthy dietary intake, lack of physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Appropriate measures and methods are required to study relations of such lifestyle behaviours and NCDs. This includes the use of valid tools and methods to measure dietary intake and physical activity, and suitable study designs and analytical techniques to analyse the data.

    The primary aim of this three-day lifestyle epidemiology course is to translate up-to-date knowledge and skills on the measurement and epidemiology of dietary behaviours, physical activity and sedentary behaviours. This includes definitions, tools and methods to assess and handle data, conceptual frameworks and epidemiology of these lifestyle behaviours in relation to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Methods to assess dietary intake include questionnaires, biomarkers and digital food records and those for physical activity and sedentary behaviour include self-reported methods and objective measurement techniques. The relations between individual-level and environmental level determinants of lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes, such as CVD, obesity and diabetes will be discussed.

    The course comprises of lectures, debate sessions and practicals. Lecturers will introduce the topics and provide the state of current knowledge. In practical afternoon sessions, students will work in small groups in a variety of forms, including group work, discussions and data interpretation and calculation.

    The following topics will be covered:

    • Patterns of nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviours, and their health consequences
      - Population patterns (e.g., changes in physical activity and dietary behaviours over time, socio-economic patterning)
      - Specific subpopulations (e.g., elderly, adolescents, migrant subgroups)
      - Relations with health outcomes (obesity, type 2 diabetes, CVD, cancers, depression)
    • Measurement of lifestyle behaviours in epidemiology
      - Measurement tools (e.g., 24h recalls, biomarkers, accelerometry, doubly-labelled water)
      - Clinimetric properties (e.g., validity and reliability of tools)
      - Practical aspects (e.g., participant burden, time/financial investment)
      - Handling of data (e.g., deciding on cut-points and other operationalisation steps from raw data to usable variables)
    • Analysis of nutritional and physical activity data
      - Study designs (e.g., experimental vs. observational)
      - Principles and procedures of covariate adjustment (e.g., energy-adjustment for dietary intake)
      - Statistical analysis (e.g., principal component analysis, confounding, moderation)
    • Determinants of lifestyle behaviours
      - Individual-and environmental level determinants of lifestyle behaviours – measurement and relations with dietary intake and physical activity (e.g. self-determination, fast-food environment, walkability)
      - Social environment – measurement and relations with dietary intake and physical activity (e.g. neighbourhood social capital)
      - Other types of environmental determinants (e.g., economic- and policy environments).


    The course consists of three days. Course days will consist of plenary, interactive lectures, and workgroups focused on data processing and interpretation in alternation

    Day 1: Introduction, definitions, epidemiology of nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Measurement tools for dietary intake and physical activity part I (including gaining hands-on experience with collecting data)

    Day 2: Measurement tools part II, data handling, statistical analysis part I

    Day 3: Statistical analysis part II, determinants of lifestyle behaviours, discussion, assessment instructions.

  • Faculty

    J. Lakerveld, PhD, course coordinator
    Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, at Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    Prof. J. Beulens, PhD
    Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    J.D. Mackenbach, PhD
    Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics. Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

    H. van der Ploeg, PhD

    Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc

  • Learning objectives

    1.The student understands how physical activity, sedentary behaviour and dietary intake influence NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancers and diabetes.

    2.The student is aware of the different measurement tools to assess dietary behaviours and physical activity and is aware of advantages and disadvantages of each tool

    3.The student knows how to handle nutritional, physical activity and sedentary behaviour data collected in population studies

    4.The student knows how to analyse these data collected in population studies.

    5.The student is aware of the main types of individual-level and environmental-level determinants of dietary behaviours, physical activity and sedentary behaviours.

  • Target group and Course requierments

    Target group

    The course is meant for researchers and professionals interested in lifestyle epidemiology.

    Course requierments

    Attendants are expected to have at least basic knowledge of epidemiological and statistical methods (i.e., study designs and analysis techniques). It is useful if you bring a laptop.

  • Course material and Literature

    On the first day of the course, students will receive a reader/access to digital materials such as group assignments, handouts of the slides used in the lectures and background literature course.

  • Exam and Accreditation

    Participants will receive a certificate of attendance if they have completed the course. The final assessment (100% of grade) will consist of a written assignment.

This website uses cookies to provide you with the best user experience. By using this site, you accept the use of cookies. More information Hide this notification
You are using an outdated browser, for optimal use we suggest that you update your browser.