Mats Hallgren. Photo: Private.

Mats Hallgren

Affiliated to research

About me

Senior researcher: Epidemiology of Psychiatric Conditions, Substance use and Social Environment (EPiCSS); Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet.

co Editor in Chief: Mental Health and Physical Activity (Elsevier) - impact factor = 5.9

>120 peer reviewed publications (H-index=36, >6000 citations)

Research description

I lead a research program focused on links between physical activity/inactivity and mental health. Current projects include FitForChange - a community-based randomized controlled trial (RCT) of exercise as treatment for alcohol use disorder. I designed and led to completion (2020) a dual site (Sweden-India) trial of yoga and aerobic exercise to promote wellbeing in physically inactive older adults ('FitForAge'). Other completed projects include the largest international trial of exercise for depression (Br J Psychiatry 2015/16), and a trial of exercise for first episode psychosis (Psychol Med, 2018). In addition to this experimental work, I have led a series of large-scale observational studies examining relationships of physical activity, sedentary behaviour (sitting) and mental health. An important finding of my research is that the association between sedentary behavior and depression is influenced by cognitive activity (passive versus mentally-active). This work is presented in an invited article in a leading sports science journal (Ex Sport Sci Reviews, 2020). My highly cited research has impacted clinical and public health practice in Sweden, India, and Australia. I am regularly invited to discuss my work on radio, podcasts, and the print media. I have also appeared on national television.


Teaching portfolio

I lead courses and seminars on physical activity and mental health in Sweden and abroad. I also supervise master and PhD students in public health sciences.


  • PhD; Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Master of Health Promotion, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
  • Post-graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Professional Psychology), Federation University, Australia
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) - University of Melbourne, Australia.