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"Life Course Health Development: “Think Nutrition First” featuring Marion Taylor Baer, PhD, RD and Dena R. Herman, PhD, MPH, RD. To Be Determined, 2019. REGISTER HERE.

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LCRN is actively seeking additional funding to develop new and innovative transdisciplinary research and activities. If you would like to contribute, please contact Ericka Tullis, Project Manager, at ETullis@mednet.ucla.edu.

Measuring lifetime stress exposure and protective factors in life course research on racial inequality and birth outcomes

By Jennifer Malat, Farrah Jacquez & George M. Slavich

  Abstract There has been a long-standing interest in better understanding how social factors contribute to racial disparities in health, including birth outcomes. A recent emphasis in this context has been on identifying the effects of stress exposure and protective factors experienced over the entire lifetime. Yet despite repeated calls for a life course approach to research on this topic, very few studies have actually assessed how stressors and protective factors occurring over women’s lives relate to birth outcomes. We discuss this issue here by describing how challenges in the measurement of lifetime stress exposure and protective factors have prevented researchers from developing an empirically-based life course perspective on health. …

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Health Disparities: A Life Course Health Development Perspective and Future Research Directions

By Kandyce Larson, Shirley A. Russ, Robert S. Kahn, Glenn Flores, Elizabeth Goodman, Tina L. Cheng, and Neal Halfon

This is one of 26 chapters published in the Handbook of Life Course Health Development.   Abstract: Historically, research examining health status disparities between members in different socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic groups often focused on adults and the concurrent lifestyle factors that might explain health differentials. Recent years have witnessed an explosion of interest in the developmental origins of adult health and disease, and life course-oriented research has proliferated across the social, biological, and health sciences. This chapter describes how an integrated life course health development framework can be applied to advance our understanding of the dynamic and multilevel processes contributing to health disparities across lifetimes and even generations. Examples of …

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How Socioeconomic Disadvantages Get Under the Skin and into the Brain to Influence Health Development Across the Lifespan

By Pilyoung Kim, Gary W. Evans, Edith Chen, Gregory Miller, and Teresa Seeman

This is one of 26 chapters published in the Handbook of Life Course Health Development.   Abstract: Socioeconomic disadvantage (SED) has adverse impacts on physical (Adler and Rehkopf 2008; Blair and Raver 2012; Braverman and Egerter 2008; Cohen et al. 2010; Poulton et al. 2002) and psychological (Adler and Rehkopf 2008; Bradley and Corwyn 2002; Grant et al. 2003) health development. SED is similar to low socioeconomic status (SES) which is based on occupation, income, and education or a composite of more than one of these indicators (McLoyd 1998). However, we conceptualize SED more broadly than socioeconomic status to also include subjective perception of social position and contextual indicators of disadvantage, …

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Growth and Life Course Health Development

By Amanda Mummert, Meriah Schoen, and Michelle Lampl

This is one of 26 chapters published in the Handbook of Life Course Health Development.   Abstract: Physical growth is an emergent process integrating a complex network of social, biological, and environmental interactions. The global diversity of body shapes and sizes reflects developmental plasticity in response to environmental exposures, both advantageous and adverse, and depicts an evolutionarily robust strategy for species’ survival. Epidemiologic surveillance efforts demonstrate that early life skeletal growth and body composition trajectories are associated with and predict adult chronic disease risks. Both human and animal studies have provided an evidentiary base for the physiological mechanisms by which differences in growth processes manifest as cell- and organ-level changes that …

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Chronic Kidney Disease: A Life Course Health Development Perspective

By Patrick D. Brophy, Jennifer R. Charlton, J. Bryan Carmody, Kimberly J. Reidy, Lyndsay Harshman, Jeffrey Segar, David Askenazi, David Shoham, and Susan P. Bagby

This is one of 26 chapters published in the Handbook of Life Course Health Development.   Abstract: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) reflects life events that range from maternal-fetal influences to geriatric exposures. The global direct and indirect costs of CKD are high and include maternal-neonatal hospitalization and treatment, acute kidney injury, dialysis and transplant, missed work, and medications, to name a few. The impact of poor diet, adverse childhood experiences, medication use, and failure to follow consistent public health standards are increasingly appreciated as key influences in the development of CKD. Socioeconomic factors can significantly influence the timing and phenotypic expression in people at risk for developing CKD, although more research …

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Growing Inequality: Bridging Complex Systems, Population Health and Health Disparities

By George A. Kaplan, Ana V. Diez Roux, Carl P. Simon, Sandro Galea (Eds.)

Growing evidence indicates that no single factor—but a system of intertwined causes—explains why America’s health is poorer than the health of other wealthy countries and why health inequities persist despite our efforts. Teasing apart the relationships between these many causes to find solutions has proven extraordinarily difficult. But now researchers are uncovering groundbreaking insights using computer-based systems science tools to simulate how these determinants come together to produce levels of population health and disparities and test new solutions. The culmination of over five years of work by experts from a more than a dozen disciplines, this book represents a bold step forward in identifying why some populations are healthy and …

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How Socioeconomic Disadvantages Get Into the Brain Across the Lifespan

By Pilyoung Kim

This webinar, part of the LCRN’s series based on the Handbook of Life Course Health Development,  features Pilyoung Kim, PhD.   Dr. Kim is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Family and Child Neuroscience lab at the University of Denver (http://www.pilyoungkim.org/). Dr. Kim’s long-term research career trajectory is to examine the early life origins of socioeconomic disparities in health from a neurobiological perspective. Her current work focuses on the prospective effects of perinatal exposures to poverty-related chronic stress on the neural systems in new mothers and infants. Dr. Kim received her Master’s Degree from Harvard and her PhD from Cornell before completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Developmental Affective …

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Neighborhood Adversity, Child Health, and the Role for Community Development

By Douglas P. Jutte, Jennifer L. Miller and David J. Erickson

Despite medical advances, childhood health and well-being have not been broadly achieved due to rising chronic diseases and conditions related to child poverty. Family and neighborhood living conditions can have lasting consequences for health, with community adversity affecting health outcomes in significant part through stress response and increased allostatic load. Exposure to this “toxic stress” influences gene expression and brain development with direct and indirect negative consequences for health. Ensuring healthy child development requires improving conditions in distressed, high-poverty neighborhoods by reducing children’s exposure to neighborhood stressors and supporting good family and caregiver functioning. The community development industry invests more than $200 billion annually in low-income neighborhoods, with the goal …

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Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children’s telomere length

By Colter Mitchella, John Hobcraftb, Sara S. McLanahanc, Susan Rutherford Siegeld, Arthur Bergd, Jeanne Brooks-Gunne, Irwin Garfinkelf, and Daniel Nottermand

Disadvantaged social environments are associated with adverse health outcomes. This has been attributed, in part, to chronic stress. Telomere length (TL) has been used as a biomarker of chronic stress: TL is shorter in adults in a variety of contexts, including disadvantaged social standing and depression. We use data from 40, 9-y-old boys participating in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to extend this observation to African American children. We report that exposure to disadvantaged environments is associated with reduced TL by age 9 y. We document significant associations between low income, low maternal education, unstable family structure, and harsh parenting and TL. These effects were moderated by genetic …

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Wisconsin’s Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families: Application of the Maternal and Child Health Life Course Perspective Through a Regional Funding Initiative

By Catherine A. Frey, Philip M. Farrell, Quinton D. Cotton, Lorraine S. Lathen and Katherine Marks

National experts are calling for more integrated approaches such as the life course perspective to reduce health disparities and achieve greater health equity. The translation and application of the life course perspective is therefore of great interest to public health planners, policy makers and funders to promote community-wide improvements in maternal and child health. However, few organizations have applied the life course perspective in designing strategic funding initiatives. For over three decades, Wisconsin has observed persistent racial disparities in birth outcomes. This complex public health issue led to the development of the Lifecourse Initiative for Health Families, a regional multi-million dollar funding initiative created and supported by the Wisconsin Partnership …

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