Early Life or Early Death: Support For Child Health Lasts a Lifetime

Author: Stephen Bezruchka
Departments of Global Health and Health Services at the School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

ABSTRACT: The first thousand days following conception is a critical period during which a large fraction of adult health is programmed. Societies can structure their support during this period in ways that enhance or damage not only the health and well-being of children, but also the health of the adults they become. Inequality is a major influence on early child health. Nations may focus on trying to effect changes in individual health-related behaviors, but public policies promoting more economic equality are more effective in producing health. A national focus on economic growth may produce overstressed parents who have inadequate time and energy for parenting. How a country chooses to allocate its national budget for health and welfare services exposes its priorities. Some of the nations that put the most federal money per person on the first year of life have some of the best overall health; others that focus spending on the later years may have limited health improvements. Economic policies, however, can be overcome in some cases by social and cultural norms, which can override both supportive and unhelpful measures. The path to health looks at its source determinants and supports early life conditions that promote the well-being of children, which in turn will further their health as adults.

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Build a Better Baby

A relatively new science known as DOHaD (Developmental Origins of Health and Disease) provides evidence that positive programming achieved during the gestation period. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, metabolic monitoring, and emotional support during gestation and the first thousand days can result in a healthy baby that is not predisposed to chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease.  The positive programming will also result in improved cognitive function for the baby.  Evidence in the field of DOHaD science has demonstrated that stresses experienced in the womb – virtually all of which have roots in the social and physical environment – alter the structures of organs in the fetus, thus changing the expression of regulatory genes throughout one’s lifetime.

Wellness Algorithm™ facilitated by AWEsome™

Prevention leads to Wellness leads to improved Quality of Life: Nourishment and good nutrition (and exercise) in the womb

“Building a Better Baby”

Reduced birth complications and the potential for healthier babies results as biological programming occurs between the pregnant woman and the fetus during gestation.   A relatively new science known as DOHaD (Developmental Origins of Health and Disease) provides evidence that positive programming achieved during the gestation period, through proper nutrition, regular exercise, metabolic monitoring, and emotional support can result in a healthy baby that is not predisposed to chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease. The positive programming will also result in improved cognitive function for the baby. Evidence in the field of DOHaD science has demonstrated that stresses experienced in the womb – virtually all of which have roots in the social and physical environment -- alter the structures of organs in the fetus, thus changing the expression of regulatory genes throughout one’s lifetime.


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