Health Promotion

The unit Health Promotion focuses on evidence-based health promotion and behavioural change in all age groups (from young children to older adults) and subgroups (e.g. vulnerable groups) with special attention to behavioural nutrition, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep and alcohol use.


  • Measurement and monitoring of health behaviours and their determinants.
  • Identifying biological, psychosocial and environmental determinants explaining (social inequalities in) health behaviours.
  • Developing theory- and evidence-based health promotion interventions, using the Intervention Mapping Protocol and/or a participatory approach.
  • Conducting effect and process evaluations of health promotion (policy) interventions.

Main activities

  • Research activities within health promotion
  • teaching within the Master Health Promotion
  • societal services (e.g. expert within steering committees, valorisation of research findings)
  • scientific services (e.g. editor/reviewer for scientific journals/projects) 

Most important projects

Current projects within the research group are:

  • HBSC Flanders
  • FWO research project regarding park visitation and use in older adults
  • FWO research project investigating the relationship between the physical environment and mental health in older adults with a low socio-economic status. 
  • FWO research project aiming to identify critical environmental street characteristics influencing the safety and appeal for active transport by manipulations of virtual reality 3D walk/cycle through environments.
  • BOF participatory project that focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of an intervention to promote healthy sleeping habits in adolescents. 
  • BOF doctoral project aiming to develop, implement and evaluate an intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour in adolescents at secondary schools using a participatory approach. The Intervention Mapping Protocol is used as a guideline. 
  • Doctoral project with the aim of investigating the determinants of alcohol consumption, the various prevention strategies and the relationship between alcohol consumption and leisure activities.
  • Research project that has the aim to develop an awareness campaign to promote palliative care in the general population in Flanders. 
  • Project regarding timely initiation of palliative care. 
  • BOF doctoral project that focuses on identifying the crucial individual and environmental determinants of parental food choices by focus groups, and testing the usability and acceptability of innovative intervention strategies.
  • FWO funded PhD project with the aim to assess the implementation in routine practice of exercise interventions (e.g. clinical pathway) in prostate cancer patients receiving hormone treatment and other evidence-based guidelines (such as cardiometabolic and bone screening, nutrition, etc.) for the optimal management of hormone therapy-induced side effects. (collaboration with the Department of Human Structure and Repair) 
  • Doctoral project aiming at the development of a care pathway for bladder cancer patients. 

More information about the projects

Most important national and international partnerships

  • Collaborations with Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Flemish Institute Healthy Living
  • the Flemish expertise center for Alcohol and other Drugs (VAD)
  • Maastricht University
  • Amsterdam UMC
  • Deakin University
  • University of Agder
  • University of Oslo
  • University of Zaragoza
  • University of Porto

and many more.


  • Benedicte Deforche (Full Professor; head of the research group)
  • Maïté Verloigne (Assistant Professor)
  • Annelies Thienpondt (Assistant; PhD student)
  • Jasmine Mommen (Practice Assistant)
  • Elke Ghyllebert (Practice Assistant)
  • Sofie Sevenants (Practice Assistant)

Postdoctoral researchers

  • Jelle Van Cauwenberg
  • Lieze Mertens
  • Louise Poppe
  • Katrijn Delaruelle

Phd Students

  • Anneke Vandendriessche
  • Anne-Lore Scherrens
  • Maxim Dierckens
  • Veerle Van Oeckel
  • Elien Lebuf

Contact data

Prof. Benedicte Deforche ()

Prof. Maïté Verloigne ()