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Emma Patterson

Affiliated to research

Department and organisational affiliation:

About me

I trained as a dietitian and nutritionist in Ireland, and, after moving to Sweden, completed a doctorate in medical sciences in 2010, followed by postgraduate training in nutritional epidemiology and public health sciences.

I then worked at the Centre for Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the Region of Stockholm (formerly Stockholm County Council), and from 2020 am employed at the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket).

I am affiliated with the research group Community Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Dept. of Global Public Health.

Research description

My research is focused on the importance of diet for health and for sustainable public health. I have worked extensively to develop and run an innovative system for evaluating school meals (SkolmatSverige). It is used by more than four in ten of the country's primary schools and I am studying how it helps lead to improved school meal quality.

In the project "OPTIMAT: Fostering healthy and sustainable dietary habits through optimised school meals", with funding from the Swedish research council Formas, we have looked at ways to enhance school meals with respect to nutrition, climate impact, cost and acceptability, simultaneously. The collaborators are the National Food Agency and Metropolitan University Copenhagen. We have conducted simulations and real-world interventions in schools. The project will run until 2020, has shown promising results, and in the future we hope to incorporate more aspects of sustainability than just greenhouse gases.

In the A Healthy School Start Plus intervention study I have helped to develop a simple mobile-phone based method for measuring dietary intakes in young children, via their parents. The evaluation of this intervention to promote healthy diets and physical activity in disadvantaged areas is ongoing.

I am also involved in the Mistra Sustainable Consumption project, co-ordinated by KTH.

In summary, my research interests lie broadly along this spectrum:

Dietary assessment -> Nutritional epidemiology -> Children's diets -> School meals -> Public health nutrition -> Sustainable diets

Teaching portfolio

Co-supervisor for two doctoral students (registered 2017 and 2018).

Supervisor for final year student projects within Nutrition, Dietary science, Public Health and Global Health bachelor and master programmes.

Lecturer on the programmes Public Health, Nutrition, Physiotherapy and Health Science, Medicine; on courses Applied Epidemiology, Nutrition Epidemiologi and Health Promotion. I give lectures mainly on the topics of nutritional epidemiology, public health nutrition and dietary assessment methods, in both English and Swedish.

I also do a lot of outreach and popular science lectures for non-scientific audiences.


BSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Trinity College Dublin & Dublin Institute of Technology (conjoined course), Ireland (2004)

PhD Medical Sciences, Karolinska Institutet (2010)

Basic course in teaching at higher level education (2018)

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