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What is your main driver for doing research?

My main driver to do research is to contribute to a healthier and happier world by developing and increasing evidence-based practice in the scope of health promotion. 

Why do you believe that strengthening mental health is so important?

Since mental health affects how we think, feel and act, it is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle at every stage of life. Promoting a healthy lifestyle cannot be seen in isolation from strengthening mental health and, especially in my research on physical activity promotion in adolescents and in the elderly, the bidirectional link between mental health and physical activity related behaviours is of high importance.

How could research change the world?

Research could change the world if we narrow the gap between evidence and implementation, by involving stakeholders and especially end users of the strategies and programs, already in the developmental stage.

With whom outside academia did you already collaborate and achieved important results?

My research group works with many stakeholders outside academia. We have a formal collaboration agreement with the Flemish Institute of Healthy Living and we have collaborated successfully with MOEV (Flemish School Sports Association), LOGO (Local Health Platforms), Health Insurances, Community Sports, City councils, hundreds of schools (preschool, elementary, secondary), Department of Mobility, Departement of Sports, Department of Health, Tourist sector, Health community centers, Ageing Council,  and many more. These collaborations have proven to be very positive and productive in several projects (e.g. 1000 stappen Vlaanderen; Brede school met sportaanbod).



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