Markku Peltonen

Official title: Research Professor, Head of Unit
Tel. +358 29 524 8477
Email: [email protected]

My research is about improving public health through prevention of chronic diseases. Focus of my research has been on prevention of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and memory disorders, and the factors associated with these.

My main achievements as a researcher have been on prevention of type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline with lifestyle intervention, especially on nutrition and physical activity. For type 2 diabetes, this work has led to implementation of national diabetes prevention programme. Second major research theme has been on prevention and treatment of obesity, and how improvements in these reduce mortality and comorbidities. This research has been used widely in treatment guidelines worldwide.

As a researcher, I’m inspired by new knowledge and how to utilise and translate this knowledge into implementation.


  • Public health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health promotion
  • Clinical intervention trials
  • Biostatistics

Primary duties

  • Head of Population Health Unit
  • Monitoring and surveillance of health and welfare of a population
  • Research on factors associated with chronic diseases
  • Prevention of chronic diseases and health promotion


  • 2004, Docent (associate professor), Epidemiology, University of Helsinki
  • 1999, Ph.D., Public Health, University of Umeå

Professional background

  • 2021–, Head of Unit, Research Professor, Population Health, THL, Finland
  • 2020–2022, Biostatistician, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
  • 2012–2020, Research Professor, THL, Finland
  • 2005–2020, Head of Unit, THL, Finland
  • 2003–2004, Senior Researcher, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 1999–2003, Senior Researcher, University of Göteborg, Sweden
  • 1991–1998, Researcher, University of Umeå, Sweden

Language skills

  • Finnish (native)
  • Swedish (excellent)
  • English (excellent)

Current projects

  • Health examination surveys (Healthy Finland, FINRISKI, etc)
  • The Finnish intervention study to prevent cognitive decline and disability (FINGER)
  • The Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS)
  • The Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study

Publications and research

Over 400 publications, of which more than 300 peer-reviewed on international scientific journals.

Markku Peltonen (Pubmed)

More information online