Universiteit Leiden

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Jessica Kiefte-de Jong

Professor Population Health

Prof.dr. J.C. Kiefte-de Jong
+31 71 5 26 91 11

Jessica Kiefte-de Jong is a professor of Population Health (since 2019) with a focus on lifestyle and life course research. She is also the head of scientific research at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Leiden University Medical Center and the Interdisciplinary Health Campus in The Hague. Additionally, she is a chair of the Dutch Academy of Nutritional Sciences.

More information about Jessica Kiefte-de Jong

Prevention, Population Health and Disease Management

The research line of Jessica Kiefte-de Jong is embedded in the interdisciplinary Health Campus The Hague. Her focus is on identifying vulnerable groups with the aim of offering targeted prevention initiatives. In addition to nutrition and lifestyle, she also looks at the social and physical environment, including (eco)syndemics and life course processes. Within her research line, the following focus areas can be distinguished:

I) Health disparities along the lifecourse

Within this area, Professor Kiefte-de Jong leads research on the first 1000 days of life, utilizing the data infrastructure of DIAPER (in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment-RIVM) and the cross-domain data infrastructure of the Extramural Leiden Academic Network. Additionally, she has established the RISE-UP study, an open cohort among pregnant women in the region of The Hague, focused on unintended pregnancies. This focus area combines epidemiological and data science methods with qualitative and participatory methods (including from medical anthropology) to identify multidimensional health problems in an unfavorable context (syndemics).

II) Food- and living environment

Professor Kiefte-de Jong has initiated research on food insecurity in the region of The Hague. In addition to financial access to healthy food, this research also addresses the physical food environment, such as the impact of communal food gardens, as well as how the food and living environment in the neighborhood can contribute to healthy behaviors. This includes the ZonMW project on eco-syndemics and obesity and the NWA ECOTIP project, which examines aspects of the food and living environment that influence the clustering of health problems in the population.

III) Transition moments for lifestyle change

Professor Kiefte-de Jong is a Dekker Laureate of the Dutch Heart Foundation. She received a personal grant to conduct research on "teachable moments," which are events in a person's life or transition moments when they are more open to making lifestyle changes. In collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences and The Hague University of Applied Sciences, teachable moments are investigated after an acute cardiac event and at other significant transition moments, such as pregnancy (TEACHLIFE project) and adolescence (MOVE-ON project).

IV) Lifestyle Medicine

Jessica Kiefte is actively involved in the core team of research within the Dutch Lifestyle Coalition and Lifestyle4Health. She conducts research on the use of lifestyle interventions, as seen in the LESS study, aimed at reducing the use of antacids in primary care through nutrition and lifestyle support. She also leads research on how lifestyle interventions can be improved, for example, by aligning with patients' interoceptive sensitivity and contextual factors.

Academic career

Jessica Kiefte-de Jong graduated as a dietitian from the Hogeschool van Amsterdam in 2004. She worked as a clinical dietitian at the Groene Hart Ziekenhuis, Maasstad Ziekenhuis, and the VU Medical Center before obtaining her Master's degree in Public Health Research & Nutrition from the VU University Amsterdam. In 2009, she decided to pursue a full-time PhD program at the Sophia Kinderziekenhuis / Erasmus MC, where she obtained her PhD in 2012 with her thesis titled "Early Life Nutrition and Gastro-intestinal and Allergic outcomes: The Generation R Study."

She became a senior researcher in the field of nutrition and health at Erasmus MC, overseeing various research projects in large cohort studies, including The Generation R Study, The Rotterdam Study, and The B-Proof Study. She also worked as a visiting researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2014 and 2016, where she studied nutritional factors in relation to type 2 diabetes. Between 2014 and 2018, she combined her research with her role as an assistant professor at Leiden University College in The Hague to establish an interdisciplinary education program in Global Public Health. During this period, she continued her research in the areas of nutrition, lifestyle, and the life course.

Professor Population Health

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 3
  • Public Health en Eerstelijnsgeneeskunde

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden




  • Lifestyle4Health Management Team
  • Wetenschappelijke adviesraad Kenniscentrum dietisten overgewicht en obestias Advisering tav preventie en behandeling van overgewicht en de rol van de dietist hierin
  • Gezondheidsraad Commissielid 'Voedingsaanbevelingen voor zwangerschap en lactatie en kinderen tot 2 jaar'
  • Journal of Public Health Nutrition Associate editor
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