Cathrine Lawaetz Wimmelmann
Section of Environmental Health
Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1014 København K, 05 Øster Farimagsgade 5, Building: 05-1-06
My main research interest concerns the importance of early life factors for later health. I am currently very preoccupied with screen use among young children. The rapid technological development and introduction of more handheld screen-based devices have changed the screen-landscape in many child families, especially with regard to the way and the amount of time children interact with screens. Today’s children spend more time on screens than any other previous generation. In Denmark, a total of 67% of all 2-year olds and 78% of all 3-year olds spend time on an Ipad, tablet or telephone every day, and more than 40% of the 3 –year olds already exceed the WHO recommendations with regard to daily screen-time. This is alarming, as an increasing number of studies find negative effects of screen use on both mental and physiological wellbeing in children including their cognitive, emotional, and weight development. Because the effects of reducing screen time in children remain unclear, the Danish Health Authority has not presented concrete recommendations for safe screen-use in children. The aim of one of my current projects therefore is to investigate effects of reducing screen use in young children.
Another main research area of mine is the development of childhood overweight. Overweight has for several decades been one of the leading public health concerns with worldwide more than 3.5 million individuals dying of obesity-related causes each year. Genetic factors are undoubtedly important determinants of the general trends in overweight, but they cannot account for the substantial individual differences observed in most populations. Psychological and social factors are believed to play a crucial role in both the development and treatment of overweight. Therefore, my current and future research on overweight are divided into two subjects: 1) Early social, psychological, behavioral and environmental predictors of overweight, and 2) The influence of psychological factors on the treatment of severe overweight. – Thus, my research provides important knowledge concerning prevention and treatment.
In addition, I conduct research within several core areas of medical psychology including: 3) Associations of personality and health, 4) Effects of Quality of Life on Mortality and Morbidity and 5) Effects of physical activity on mental health and psychological factors.
I have taught and supervised students within several subjects of medical psychology:
-Emotions and Motivation
-Perception and Thinking
-Quality of Life
-Riskfactors and Health