I am a public health nutritionist with a BSc Nutrition and MSc Social Policy and Social Research. Most of my work experience is on global health and nutrition policy, healthy food environments, conflicts of interest in nutrition policy and research, and the human right to food. More recently, I started investigating the role of digital technology in building (un)healthy food environments.
My PhD research is investigating digital food environments. Unhealthy diets are a major cause of various health problems, either on the side of excess (such as obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases) or on the side of scarcity (underweight, lack of nutrients including anemia, among others). The food environment that surrounds us plays a major role in our ability to have healthier diets, as they influence (positively or negatively) our food choices, for example through physical availability of foods in local shops, food prices, food labels and marketing of unhealthy foods. With the increasing role of technology and the internet in daily life, a new, digital layer of food environments has emerged. Digital food environments are the events that take part in the digital world that influence our food choices and nutritional health in the physical world. This includes, for example, digital influencers (such as bloggers and instagrammers), who share information on food and nutrition and may contribute to healthier diets, on the one hand, or to body image and eating disorders, on the other. It includes how the food industry uses new digital strategies to market unhealthy products, including apps, competitions on social media and games. It also includes the social support communities that emerge online, for example to support breastfeeding mothers or people who are struggling with diet-related diseases like diabetes. How do these digital food environments influence young women in Norway, in particular? How much easier, or harder, is it for young women to have good nutritional health, depending on their use of social media and other digital technology? This is what my study will try to find out.