About Saskia

Research interest

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My main research interest is in social and psychological influences on lifestyle and public health, combined with a strong interest in the related methodology and statistical analyses of the data. I have a special interest in how the social environment such as family and friends, can be involved to promote healthy behaviour and health. Moreover, I am fascinated by the use of modern technology to support health promotion and data analyses.

Work history

  • 2018 – present, Program Manager at Knowledge Center for Healthy & Sustainable Living, University of Applied Science, Utrecht (0.6fte)
  • 2018 – senior researcher, Innovation of movement care, University of Applied Science Utrecht
  • 2014 – 2018, Associate Professor at the Department of Public Health, Sport & Nutrition, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
  • 2014 – present, Owner of Te Velde Research & Consultancy
  • 2017 – 2018 Senior researcher sport & society, Verwey-Jonker Institute, Utrecht
  • 2007 – 2016, Assistent Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, VUmc, Amsterdam
  • 2005-2007 Post-doctoral researcher Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam
  • 1999 – 2004 PhD fellow, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VUmc, Amsterdam

After obtaining my Master in Human Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen, I started my scientific career in 1999 as a PhD fellow working on the Amsterdam Growth and Longitudinal Health Study (AGAHLS) under the supervision of prof.dr. Han Kemper, prof.dr. Willem van Mechelen and prof.dr. Jos Twisk. In my thesis I described the associations between birth weight as a marker for intra-uterine growth and several health outcomes, including cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health indicators. Although lifestyle variables were included in the studies that were conducted in the AGAHLS, I missed working on lifestyle and health promotion.

In 2004 I got a post-doc position in Rotterdam at the Department of Public Health, of the Erasmus Medical Center, with prof.dr.ir. Johannes Brug where I worked on two intervention projects targeting schoolchildren and aiming to increase their fruit and vegetable intake. This was also my first experience with a European project, the Pro Children Project, in which we worked in a very productive and fruitful consortium. Later on, when I moved back to the EMGO-institute of the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam together with prof.dr.ir. Johannes Brug, I got involved in many more European projects: ENERGY, PRO GREENS, Toy Box, MeMo International and national projects. These projects were on assessing (determinants of) health behaviours (physical activity, soft drink intake, breakfast, TV viewing, etc), developing and evaluating interventions targeting these behaviours among schoolchildren. Besides European projects, I had a strong collaboration with researchers of the Center of Physical Activity and Nutrition of Deakin University in Melbourne and visited them for two months in 2009.

I was also part of the Child Health and Care Research group lead by prof.dr. Mai Chin A Paw. Together we introduced and used mediation analyses in the evaluation of interventions and theoretical frameworks. In addition, together with dr. Michel Klein from the artificial intelligence group and prof.dr.ir. Johannes Brug we started the project Active2Gether that uses modern technology to assess and intervene on physical activity.