Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amika Singh’s PhD graduation and Henriette van der Horst’s inaugural address.

On Friday April 11 I attended two academic meetings in the mail hall of the VU University. On Friday morning Amika Singh defended her PhD thesis. Her thesis was based on the Do-IT study (see, a project aiming to develop, implement and evaluate a comprehensive school-based obesity prevention intervention. The intervention combined nutrition and physical activity education with school-environmental changes. The results indicate that the intervention was effective in positively changing indicators of body fatness among girls; girls in the schools that participated in Do-IT had lower skin fold thickness than girls in ‘control’ schools (see The so-called opponents at the defence ceremony included professors Gerjo Kok from Maastricht University (one of the founding fathers of the Intervention Mapping protocol ( that was the basis for the development of the Do-IT intervention), Stuart Biddle, from Loughborough University, who is an expert on behavioural physical activity and sedentary behaviour research (see, and Ilse de Boudeaudhuij from Ghent University (see who supervised a similar project in Belgium. The examination committee was much impressed with Amika’s thesis.
That afternoon professor Henriette van der Horst accepted her chair as head of the General Practice department of the VUmc with her inaugural address. The General Practice department is one of the VUmc’s departments that participates in the EMGO Institute ( for Health and Care Research. Prof. van der Horst stressed the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in research tot improve general practioner’s practice.