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University of Southampton joins international researchers to track the link between early nutrition and obesity.
The Kick-off Meeting of the EarlyNutrition project is joined by more than 60 scientists from 36 universities and research institutes in Europe, the USA and Australia. The key aim is to develop recommendations for optimal early nutrition that incorporate long-term health outcomes.
The University of Southampton's Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit and Institute of Developmental Sciences will host an almost £1 million programme of work to be carried out in Southampton.
Professor Keith Godfrey, who leads the Southampton Early Nutrition team, and is Deputy Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle at the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be a major part of this substantial EU project. The resulting resource for Southampton will allow a large number of important scientific projects aimed at understanding how nutrition early in life, for example in the womb and in infancy, might affect the risk of later obesity and ill-health.”
The Southampton team will explore the role of early diet, lifestyle and physical activity in determining body composition in later childhood. Detailed assessment of these factors in mothers and children from the Southampton Women's Survey will be related to the child’s fat, muscle and bone mass measured by DXA scanning in a new follow up assessment at 10 to 11 years after birth.
"The SWS is an internationally unique mother-offspring cohort, funded by the MRC, which studies the developmental origins of chronic non-communicable disorders,” explains Professor Cyrus Cooper, Director of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit. “This project will permit the critical step of assessing the body composition of children studied in this cohort at age 10-11 years."
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths. In 2010, around 43 million children under five were overweight.