The opportunity to shape life-long health

There is increasing evidence that the first 1000 days of life during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood, as well as pre conception parental health, is a uniquely important time that can determine long term health outcomes.  Research that aims to understand more about the health of children in these early days has the potential to prevent disease and disability before it even occurs is a priority fo the UQ Faculty of Medicine.

Bringing together the best minds to prevent child disease and disability

UQ has many research groups dedicated to understanding the health of children in their first 1000 days of life. These groups aim to prevent disease and disability by exploring a range of factors that influence health in the first years of life including:

  • the health of mothers and fathers at conception and during pregnancy,
  • an infant’s early nutrition,
  • a child’s body composition and growth,
  • the impact of prematurity on brain development and function,
  • a child’s early exposures to viruses and infectious diseases, and
  • a child’s early exposures to environmental toxins and hazards.

In addition to understanding the factors that contribute to health, researchers are also working to improve the ability to diagnose and detect disease and disability as early as possible.

Our collective vision is to prevent disease and disability before it occurs, thereby giving children the gift of life-long health.

Resolving the big questions to benefit our smallest people

From basic science through to clinical research, our researchers are driven to understand the health of children in their early years. They ask questions like:

  • How does maternal health at conception and during pregnancy affect newborn babies?
  • What are normal viruses in young children and will they influence a child developing asthma later on?
  • How long should a mother breastfeed and when should they introduce solids?
  • How does a child’s gut flora influence their likelihood of becoming obese?
  • Can we prevent severe aspects of cerebral palsy by identifying babies early and offering rehabilitation programs soon after birth?

Educating parents and the community

Our research can only be of benefit if we help to make people aware of the ways we can nurture the future health of children. UQ researchers are working with industry and government collaborators to produce helpful resources for parents, health practitioners and caregivers in the ways they can influence the health of a child in its first 1000 days.

First thousand days research leaders