Tove and Steven want to make a change for the youths in Västerås

May 14, 2018 | Research/Cooperation

In one of the research projects at MDH right now, the focus is on the conditions for young people to lead a healthy life style. Tove Sjunnestrand and Steven Doerstling work as research assistants in the project and are the ones who have been gathering information from over 500 16-18-year-olds in Västerås.

- These young people have answered a questionnaire about their food habits, environmental awareness and how they perceive their neighbourhood with regard to safety and accessibility to, for instance, recreational facilities, says Tove.

-  Right now we are analysing the information in hopes of identifying factors that promote or counteract the possibility for these young people to live a healthy life style. The goal is to communicate our findings to the politicians and municipality, who are the ones with the authority and responsibility to actually make the changes that need to be done, says Steven.

A dream come true

Both Tove and Steven have a strong interest in the connection between nutrition and public health. They both have Katarina Bälter, Professor of Public Health Sciences, to thank that they now work at MDH.

- Katarina was the supervisor for my master thesis when I studied at Karolinska institutet, and through her I got the job in this really interesting research project. For me it is a dream come true to be able to work with these questions, says Tove.

Steven is at MDH as a Fulbright US student grantee. He got to choose between several countries and universities and had seen a lot of Katarina´s work in many publications. Thanks to a pre-approvement letter from Katarina Bälter, he has spent the past academic year at MDH.

- I really like it here in Sweden. There are a lot of systems to support a good public health and a healthy lifestyle. It is a walkable and bikeable society and there are many lessons an American can learn about Sweden, says Steven.

Want to make a change

When being asked the question what they aim for themselves with their research, Tove and Steven answer that it is not about winning a Noble Prize. For Steven the research is a way to try and generate new knowledge.

- My motivating power is to make a change, Tove says.

About the research project

The research project that Tove and Steven work within, is a part of the Social Contract where MDH do research in close collaboration with Västerås City, the Municipality of Eskilstuna, the County Council of Västmanland, the County Council of Sörmland.