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Advocacy for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days To Support Childhood Development and Adult Health

By Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, Michael K. Georgieff

  Abstract Maternal prenatal nutrition and the child’s nutrition in the first 2 years of life (1000 days) are crucial factors in a child’s neurodevelopment and lifelong mental health. Child and adult health risks, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, may be programmed by nutritional status during this period. Calories are essential for growth of both fetus and child but are not sufficient for normal brain development. Although all nutrients are necessary for brain growth, key nutrients that support neurodevelopment include protein; zinc; iron; choline; folate; iodine; vitamins A, D, B6, and B12; and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Failure to provide key nutrients during this critical period of brain development may …

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From Epidemiology to Epigenetics: Evidence for the Importance of Nutrition to Optimal Health Development Across the Life Course

By Marion Taylor Baer and Dena Herman

This is one of 26 chapters published in the Handbook of Life Course Health Development.   Abstract: Nutrition is a young science. For thousands of years, foods and herbs were a major component in the armamentarium of the physician and his predecessors.   Nutrition is a desperately neglected aspect of maternal, newborn and child health. The reasons for this neglect are understandable, but not justifiable. Richard Horton BSc MB FRCP FMedSci, Editor-in-Chief, the Lancet (Horton2008)   Read full article

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Life course perspective: evidence for the role of nutrition

By Dena R. Herman, Marion Taylor Baer, Elizabeth Adams, Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, Nelida Duran, Donna B. Johnson, Elizabeth Yakes

The “Life Course Perspective” proposes that environmental exposures, including biological, physical, social, and behavioral factors, as well as life experiences, throughout the entire life span, influence health outcomes in current and future generations. Nutrition, from preconception to adulthood, encompasses all of these factors and has the potential to positively or negatively shape the individual or population health trajectories and their intergenerational differences. This paper applies the T2E2 model (timing, timeline, equity and environment), developed by Fine and Kotelchuck, as an overlay to examine advances in nutritional science, as well as the complex associations between life stages, nutrients, nutrigenomics, and access to healthy foods, that support the life course perspective. Examples …

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Long run impacts of childhood access to the safety net

By H Hoynes, D Whitmore Schanzenbach and D Almond

A growing economics literature establishes a causal link between in utero shocks and health and human capital in adulthood. Most studies rely on extreme negative shocks such as famine and pandemics. We are the first to examine the impact of a positive and policy-driven change in economic resources available in utero and during childhood. In particular, we focus on the introduction of a key element of the U.S. safety net, the Food Stamp Program, which was rolled out across counties in the U.S. between 1961 and 1975. We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to assemble unique data linking family background and county of residence in early childhood to …

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Childhood antecedents to adult cardiovascular disease

By Neal Halfon, Philip A. Verhoef and Alice A. Kuo

Many of the most common and costly chronic adult health conditions have their origins in childhood and adolescence. This recognition is leading to both a profound shift in our understanding about the developmental origins of diseases such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and a greater focus on how different risk and protective factors influence the developmental pathways that determine optimal health across the life span. Scientific breakthroughs in the basic, clinical and epidemiological sciences reveal how different stressors and exposures during what are now termed “critical” or “sensitive” periods of development can affect growth, tissue differentiation and physiologic set points that influence an individual’s response to …

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Incorporating the life course model into MCH nutrition leadership education and training programs

By Betsy Haughton, Kristen Eppig, Shannon M. Looney, Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, Bonnie A. Spearman, Marsha Spence and Jamie S. Stang

Life course perspective, social determinants of health, and health equity have been combined into one comprehensive model, the life course model (LCM), for strategic planning by U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The purpose of this project was to describe a faculty development process; identify strategies for incorporation of the LCM into nutrition leadership education and training at the graduate and professional levels; and suggest broader implications for training, research and practice. Nineteen representatives from 6 MCHB-funded nutrition leadership education and training programs and 10 federal partners participated in a one-day session that began with an overview of the models and concluded with guided small …

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