Applied Health Intervention Research Unit

The interdisciplinary group ‚Applied Health Intervention Research’ develops, implements and evaluates the effects of interventions for health promotion in different settings targeting various populations. Currently, the focus lies on innovative evidence-based interventions in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, as well as substance use. In addition, the group has a long-standing tradition of providing nutrition and hygiene consulting to institutions nationwide.

In regard to the promotion of children’s health, several research studies are currently underway. In the ‘JOKITA’-study, the group is investigating the effects of a program for health promotion among 3-6-year old children in a controlled trial including 68 daycare facilities. This study also comprises a calibration study in which accelerometry is used to quantify energy expenditure in children (‘ACCIPS’). In a third study, the group is developing a documentation and evaluation system for environmental and behavioral interventions for the prevention of childhood overweight (‘DEVASYS’). To transfer existing quality standards and recommendations regarding child nutrition, the group provides training courses to multipliers in the daycare setting.

In regard to student health, the research is focused on the evaluation and dissemination of web-based ‘social norms’-interventions for the prevention and reduction of substance use in the university setting (‘INSIST’, ‘DIOS’). In an ongoing study (‘DIOS’), strategies for capacity building at selected universities are developed to facilitate the implementation and maintenance of such interventions.

In regard to the promotion of healthy ageing, two studies are currently underway examining the role of e- or m-health interventions in the promotion of physical activity among older adults. The first study is a pilot study aimed at comparing the effects of two web-based interventions on physical activity behavior compared to a waitlisted control group of adults aged 65-75 years in a community-based trial (‘AEQUIPA/PROMOTE’). The second study investigates attitudes towards and use of commercially available apps for the promotion of physical activity among adults aged 50 and above (‘BEWAPP’).

Internationally, the group is actively involved in several work packages of a European research collaboration aimed at assessing the current state of research regarding multi-level interventions and policies for the promotion of a healthy diet and physical activity and the reduction of sedentary behavior across Europe (‘DEDIPAC’).

Selected publication

    Articles with peer-review

  • Steenbock B, Wright MN, Wirsik N, Brandes M. Accelerometry-based prediction of energy expenditure in preschoolers. Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour. 2019;2(2):94-102.
  • Brandes M, Steenbock B, Wirsik N. Energy cost of common physical activities in preschoolers. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2018;15(4):233-238.
  • Brandes M, Wirsik N, Niehoff H, Heimsoth J, Möhring B. Impact of a tailored activity counselling intervention during inpatient rehabilitation after knee and hip arthroplasty - An explorative RCT. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2018;19:209.
  • Sliepen M, Brandes M, Rosenbaum D. Current physical activity monitors in hip and knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Care & Research. 2017;69(10):1460-1466.
  • Dempsey R, McAlaney J, Helmer S, Pischke CR, Akvardar Y, Bewick BM, Fawkner HJ, Guillén-Grima F, Stock C, Vriesacker B, Van Hal G, Salonna F, Kalina O, Orosova O, Mikolajczyk R. Normative perceptions of cannabis use amongst European university students: Associations between perceived peer use and peer attitudes with personal use and attitudes. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2016;77(5):740-748.
  • Helmer S, Müllmann S, Zeeb H, Pischke CR. Development and evaluation of the efficacy of a web-based 'social norms'-intervention for the prevention and reduction of substance use in a cluster-controlled trial conducted at eight German universities. BMC Public Health. 2016;16:252.
  • Müllmann S, Forberger S, Möllers T, Zeeb H, Pischke CR. Effectiveness of eHealth interventions for the promotion of physical activity in older adults: A systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews. 2016;5:47.
  • Pischke CR, Helmer S, McAlaney J, Bewick BM, Vriesacker B, Van Hal G, Mikolajczyk R, Akvardar Y, Guillén-Grima F, Salonna F, Orosova O, Dohrmann S, Dempsey R, Zeeb H. Normative misperceptions of tobacco use among university students in seven European countries: Baseline findings of the 'Social Norms Intervention for the prevention of Polydrug usE' study. Addictive Behaviors. 2015;51:158-164.
  • Book chapters

  • Brandes M, Vincente-Rodriguez G, Suling M, Pitsiladis Y, Bammann K. Physical fitness. In: Bammann K, Lissner L, Pigeot I, Ahrens W, editors. Instruments for health surveys in children and adolescents. Cham: Springer International Publishing. 2019. S. 277-289.

Current projects


Atens-Kahlenberg, Wiebke von
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56910
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Brandes, Mirko, PD Dr.
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56905
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Bücking, Brigitte
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56909
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Budde, Sebastian
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56915
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Busse, Heide, Dr.
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56912
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Dreger, Steffen
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56982
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Jilani, Hannah
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56880
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56821

Kebede, Mihiretu
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56916
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Peters, Manuela
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56924
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Steenbock, Berit
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56952
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Strube, Helga
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56908
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-56941

Wichmann, Frauke
Tel.: +49 (0)421 218-56906
Fax: +49 (0)421 218-5641