The Bergen Growth Research Group (BERG)

Updated knowledge of growth and weight development is important for all health-related work with children and adolescents, due to follow up of the child, but also to monitor trends in the child population. Children’s growth and development depends on heredity and environment. Norwegian children have gradually grown taller over the last hundred years, which reflects amongst other things, better well-being, improved nutrition and fewer infections. During the last 20-30 years, weight in children and adults has also increased. The Bergen Growth Research Group (BERG) is an umbrella for projects focusing on growth and pubertal development. The studies have generated new growth references for Norwegian children and given valuable information about the problem of overweight and obesity in the childhood population. Three PhD-candidates are currently attached to the research group.


The Bergen Growth Study 1 (BGS1): The Bergen growth study 1 is a research project that was started in 2003 and which, amongst other things, aims to identify and describe the growth and weight development of Norwegian children. Data has been collected from more than 8000 children aged 0-19 years who where measured at the Health clinics, kindergartens and schools in Bergen. In the winter of 2007-2008 new growth curves were made for Norwegian children aged 0-19 years based on data from the BGS1 and data from the Medical Birth Registry. Norwegian school children are taller today than the previous growth references show. Weight for height has also increased.

The Bergen Growth Study 2: The data collection for BGS2 took place during January-June 2016, a study focusing on pubertal development in Norwegian children. Our knowledge of puberty in Norwegian children is limited. In other countries, such as Denmark and the United States, researchers are seeing indications that children reach puberty earlier than before. It is unclear why this is happening. Children may be reaching puberty earlier due to altered body composition (increased fat tissue) or because they are absorbing substances that influence this development (so-called endocrine disruptors). Early puberty has its downsides; it can increase the risk of obesity, have negative psychosocial implications and some studies have associated early puberty with certain forms of cancer. The purpose of the study is to document normal range of puberty among Norwegian children by assessing growth pubertal development and analysing blood and saliva samples. Objective measurements of the pubertal development is done by means of ultrasound of the testicles in boys and the breast gland in the girls. A total of 1147 children were recruited to the study.


Research Group:

Pétur B. Júlíusson (PI)

Robert Bjerknes

Mathieu Roelants

Geir Egil Eide

Karen Rosendahl

Gunnar Mellgren

Jerome Ruzzin

Hege Kristiansen (PhD-candidate)

Ingvild S Bruserud (PhD-candidate)

Ninnie Oehme (PhD-candidate)

Andre Madsen (PhD-candidate)

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Hege Havstad Clemm

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Anna Tora Dalsbotten