Institution/source
Main report findings
Date

Early intervention

University of Southern California
13.02.18
Researchers have found that vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women could result in their babies growing into obese children and adults (picked up by Medical Xpress). The study found that 6 year olds born to mothers with very low vitamin D levels during their first trimester had 2% more body fat than their peers, whose mothers had enough vitamin D in early pregnancy.
13.02.18
University of Edinburgh
23.01.18

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh (picked up by The Telegraph) have found that babies born by c-section are more likely to be obese by the time they are 5 years old.

23.01.18
eLife
12.12.17
A study published in eLife has found that high glucose in pregnancy can keep babies’ cardiac cells from maturing normally. The researchers claim that these findings help explain why women with diabetes are more likely to have babies that develop congenial heart disease.
12.12.17
New York University
27.11.17
New York University have conducted a study on the use of antibiotics by pregnant women. The study has found that exposure to antibiotics in mothers may increase risk for inflammatory bowel diseases in their offspring.
27.11.17
King’s College London
13.11.17
A King’s College London study has found that breastfeeding could reduce the risk of eczema in children.
13.11.17
Institute for Fiscal Studies
02.11.17
The Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that the number of children living in poverty will rise to a record 5.2 million over the next five years.
02.11.17
American Psychological Association
31.10.17
The American Psychological Association (picked up in The Times) have found that mothers who breastfeed longer remain closer to their children throughout early childhood.
31.10.17
National Children’s Bureau
30.10.17
A National Children’s Bureau Report has been published, stressing the effects of social deprivation on child wellbeing.
30.10.17
Social Market Foundation
31.08.17
The Social Market Foundation has released a new report, A Lost Generation, on social mobility as a the “defining issue of our time, creating a divided Britain, which is bad for our economy, society and future”. The report is sponsored by Labour MP Lucy Powell. It focuses on the early years, noting that only £250 million – or 2.7% – of the extra £9bn funding which the government has set aside for early years provision during this Parliament will reach the most disadvantaged children. The report makes the following recommendations:

– Creating a cross-government Social Mobility Strategy with a strong focus on the early years

– Developing a new 10-year Childcare Strategy

– Making the case for early education and intervention for disadvantaged and low-income families

– A new Best Start Guarantee and 750 fully-integrated children’s centres

31.08.17
National Maternity and Perinatal Audit 2017
10.08.17
The National Maternity & Perinatal Audit launched its 2017 Organisational Report on how maternity and neonatal care is delivered by the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales. Conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the report raised concerns over staffing. It found that only 15% of women are getting “continuity of carer” throughout their pregnancy, birth and aftercare.
10.08.17
UNICEF UK
11.07.17
UNICEF UK and the Baby Friendly Initiative have published the 2017 survey results on the state of infant feeding support services in the UK. This is part of their 2016 Change the Conversation campaign. The main learnings are:

  • 47% of Infant Feeding Leads representing individual services across England reported cuts in infant feeding support groups; 28% reported cuts in specialist breastfeeding support;
  • 48% reported closure of children’s centre services; 33% reported improvements in specialist breastfeeding support
  • As a result of these; 62% reported a negative impact on maternity services and 71% noted a negative impact on children’s centre services and health visiting services.
11.07.17
Cardiff University
07.07.17
New research from Cardiff University revealed that peer support for breastfeeding mothers is only available in 56% of NHS trust and health board areas, and that quality of service provided varied within and between areas. The researchers also found that, although services aimed to meet the needs of mothers from poorer social backgrounds, they did not attract them as service users.
07.07.17
NatCen & Oxford University
06.07.17
A study carried out jointly by Oxford University and NatCen indicates that nurseries are better for children’s development than a nanny, as it has a significant positive effect on their language and socio-emotional development. This is based on figures from the Study of Early Education and Development, which follows 6,000 children in England aged between 2 and 7.
06.07.17
King’s College London
28.06.17
Research from King’s College London has found that pregnant women who are at risk of pre-eclampsia could substantially lower the chances of premature delivery by taking a daily dose of aspirin. A low dose of the drug taken throughout pregnancy more than halved the chances of a premature birth due to pre-eclampsia.
28.06.17
University of Copenhagen
22.06.17
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have found that pregnant mothers who take paracetamol (even at recommended doses) may be harming the masculinity of their unborn son and reducing fertility in daughters. Researchers found the pills inhibit the development of ‘male behaviour’ in mice by reducing the amount of the ‘masculine’ hormone testosterone in their bodies. The NHS are quoted in response in this Daily Mail article stating that paracetamol during pregnancy is ‘usually safe’ and there is no clear evidence that it has any harmful effects on an unborn baby.
22.06.17
Edinburgh University
21.06.17
Researchers from Edinburgh University have found that severely obese women who attend specialist antenatal clinics during pregnancy are eight times less likely to suffer a stillbirth. The study found that there was only one stillbirth from 511 pregnancies in the specialist cohort, compared to eight out of 502 pregnancies in the standard cohort.
21.06.17
University of Wisconsin, Madison and University of California, San Francisco
24.05.17
A new study has found that mindfulness training to address fear and pain during childbirth can help improve women’s childbirth experiences and reduce their depression symptoms in the following weeks.
24.05.17
Temple University Health System
22.05.17
Research conducted by Temple University Health System found that the distribution of baby boxes providing education on safe infant sleep significantly reduced sleep-related deaths in infants. Mothers also reported that using the box as a sleeping space, instead of bed-sharing, made breastfeeding easier. The Royal College of Midwives posted a summary of the findings.
22.05.17
RCPCH and CPAG
11.05.17
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have launched a new report on poverty and child health, based on a survey of more than 250 paediatricians. One in four children in the UK live in poverty (nearly 4 million) and this could rise to 5 million by 2020. The report reveals more than two-thirds of paediatricians surveyed said poverty and low income contribute ‘very much’ to the ill health of children they work with. 60% said food insecurity contributed to the children’s ill health. The RCPCH and CPAG are calling on whoever forms the next Government to tackle poverty urgently through the reversal of funding cuts, the restoration of binding national targets to reduce child poverty, backed by a national child poverty strategy, and the adoption of a ‘child health in all policies’ approach.
11.05.17
Mumsnet
04.05.17
The results of a new survey carried out by Mumsnet showed that 61% of mothers who just gave birth were unable to access food when they needed it, and 45% unable to access pain relief when necessary. 19% of women who had a hospital stay say it affected their mental health for the worse and 14% said their experience on the postnatal ward had ‘made them think twice’ about having more children.
04.05.17
PISA
19.04.17
For the first time, the OECD has released an additional analysis of students’ wellbeing, based on results from the OECD PISA 2015 assessment. The OECD report, which compared students’ experiences around the world, highlights a number of challenges faced by school children in the UK, including high rates of bullying, unhappiness and anxiety, which is particularly prevalent among disadvantaged pupils and girls. While the findings look at teenagers, Natalie Perera, executive director and head of research at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), argued in favour of early intervention and said that practitioners in early years settings and schools can play a role in improving children’s well-being.
19.04.17
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
29.03.17
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic’s director of metabolic research have received federal funding to determine if childhood obesity can be prevented before women become pregnant. The first-ever Cleveland-based study will explore whether an exercise and nutrition program designed for mothers before they conceive will result in less childhood obesity. Through nutrition, exercise, and education, the Lifestyle Intervention in Preparation for Pregnancy program (LIPP) will seek to reduce body fat and improve glucose and lipid metabolism in overweight and mildly obese women who plan on becoming pregnant, with an aim of ultimately reducing obesity and obesity-related health problems in women and their children.
29.03.17
Georgetown University and University of Virginia
16.03.17
A new study published by the Society for Research in Child Development found that children who experience food insecurity in early childhood are more likely to start kindergarten less ready to learn than their peers from homes that are ‘food secure’. In addition to finding that the timing of food insecurity matters, the study found that the number of times a child experienced food insecurity also makes a difference.
16.03.17
University of California
10.03.17
A new study conducted by the University of California in Bangladesh found that lipid-based, or fat-based, nutritional supplements consumed during what the study described as the ‘golden’ first 1,000 days can “significantly boost children’s growth and development”.
10.03.17
American Journal of Hypertension
08.03.17
A new article published in the American Journal of Hypertension finds that babies born to mothers with cardiometabolic risk factors were less likely to develop high blood pressure if their mothers had higher levels of folate during pregnancy.
08.03.17
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
08.03.17
Children born to mothers with low levels of vitamin E might be more likely to develop asthma, according to research presented by the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. The researchers found that children who wheezed or needed asthma medications were more likely to have mothers who had lower levels of vitamin E just after birth.
08.03.17
University of Copenhagen
07.03.17
A small study completed by the University of Copenhagen found that when pregnant mothers have diabetes, their children may have altered fat cells that make metabolic diseases in adulthood more likely.
07.03.17
London School of Economics
16.02.17
A new study published by the London School of Economics claims highly qualified staff in the early years only had a “tiny” effect on school achievement and attainment. The Government has been pushing for more graduate staff in nurseries in order to boost children’s literacy and numeracy. The researchers also found only a minimal benefit for children who had attended nurseries rated outstanding by Ofsted, compared with those who had attended other nurseries.
16.02.17
Healthy Start Study
31.01.17
Data from the Healthy Start Study showed a regular consumption of prenatal multivitamins may support “normal” fat gain in infants in the first five months of life. The researchers found that prenatal multivitamin supplementation had no detrimental effects on early infant growth, but could be associated with slower fattening.
31.01.17
University of Colorado
30.01.17
New research completed by the University of Colorado claims that prebiotic supplementation in early life may boost the growth of gut bacteria and alleviate sleep disruptions caused by stress. A diet rich in galactooligosaccharides, polydextrose, lactoferrin and milk fat globule membrane would lead to a better response to stress.
30.01.17
University of Exeter
10.01.17
A new study from the University of Exeter found that the obesogenic environment accentuates the risk of obesity in genetically susceptible adults, with social deprivation being the strongest influence on obesity. Others factors under study included TV watching, as Western diet and physical activity. The research lead, Dr Jessica Tyrrell, said: “it is premature to target any particular aspect of the environment or behaviour to try to reduce obesity. There is no ‘silver bullet’ to reducing obesity risk. It is misleading to suggest public health measures should be targeted specifically at fried food reduction, fizzy drink consumption or TV watching in those genetically predisposed to obesity”. The combination of genetic risk and social deprivation substantively increases the risk of being obese.
10.01.17
University of Chicago and University of Southern California
13.12.16
The University of Chicago and the University of Southern California have published a new study showing that high-quality early childhood development programmes can deliver an annual return of 13% per child on upfront costs through better educational outcomes, better health, employment and social behaviour.
13.12.16
Duke University
12.12.16
New research carried by teams in the US, UK and New-Zealand, published in the Nature Human Behaviour Journal, has looked into the impact of childhood disadvantage on later life. The findings show that 20% of children accounted for 81% of criminal convictions, 78% of drugs prescription and 66% of welfare benefits. With the help of a ‘brain test’, researchers were able to predict which children were likely to be part of the 20%, based on their socioeconomic background, experience of maltreatment, IQ and self-control. Those children were also 15% more likely to be overweight.
12.12.16
Institute of Health Visiting
07.12.16
The Institute of Health Visiting has published the 2016 Health Visiting Survey, which claims that only 70% of families receive the mandated health visitor reviews at 6-8 weeks, 1 year and 2 years. Just 30% of new mothers and their babies are receiving an antenatal visit. The survey also states that 85% of health visitors found their workload had increased over the past 2 years, due to local authorities spending cuts. Conservative MP Dan Poulter, former Health minister, has voiced concern about the findings.
07.12.16
London School of Economics
15.11.16
A new report from the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics claimed there are clear economic and societal arguments for investing in mental health interventions for women during pregnancy and new mothers.
15.11.16
University of California San Diego
09.11.16
The University of California San Diego has implemented a new blood test enabling doctors to assess the impact of a pregnant mother’s drinking on the foetus. High alcohol exposure of the foetus can lead to birth defects, such as neurological issues, learning disabilities and behavioural deficits. The US National Institute of Health claimed that 20 to 30% of women drink at some time during pregnancy. The greatest risk for the foetus’ health occurs when pregnant women have four or more drinks at once, or more than seven in a week.
09.11.16
Lancet Series on Diabetes and Endocrinology
01.11.16
Research published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology suggests that infections, not the use of antibiotics, are to blame for later health problems, including obesity. Previous studies had linked antibiotics during the first year of life to childhood obesity. But children who were given antibiotics during the first year of life and untreated infants presented the same risk of developing later obesity. Scientists concluded that neither infections nor antibiotics seem to directly cause obesity. Further research will look at how infections may disturb the delicate balance of gut bacteria.
01.11.16
Queen Mary University
24.10.16
New research from Queen Mary University in London has shown that the levels of blood marker DLK1 could help predict the wellbeing and health of a foetus. The researchers observed that low DLK1 protein level were associated with reduced growth of the foetus. The new blood test could help measure the growth of the foetus and whether there may be any complications such as reduced nutrient supply to the baby.
24.10.16
American Academy of Pediatrics
21.10.16
The American Academy of Paediatrics has presented the results of a new study on the impact of adverse events during childhood. The study shows that the weight of children who experienced trauma was affected during the early years. The study also suggested that children exposed to early adversity may have increased risk for asthma, infection, somatic complaints, and sleep disruption.
21.10.16
University of Kansas
13.10.16
Two clinical trials in the US and Australia (carried out by the University of Kansas and Life Span Institute) suggest that thousands of early preterm births could be avoided if pregnant women took Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) nutritional supplements. The researchers estimated that early preterm births could be reduced by 1.5% in the US and 1.3% in Australia each year if pregnant women took daily supplements of the omega fatty acid.
13.10.16
University Children’s Hospital Basel and the University of Basel, Switzerland
09.09.16
During the first year of life, breastfeeding could help protect children with genetic profiles linked to asthma from developing respiratory symptoms such as asthma attacks, according to a study presented at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress. This new study, from the University Children’s Hospital Basel and the University of Basel, Switzerland, identifies the protective effects of breastfeeding against respiratory symptoms linked to asthma, such as wheezing and asthma attacks.

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09.09.16
UNICEF
01.08.16
A new study by UNICEF has found that more than 77 million babies worldwide are not breastfed within the first hour of birth. According to the report, babies who aren’t fed with breast milk within the first two to 23 hours of birth are “40 percent more likely to die within their first 28 days of life….if a child is not fed with breast milk within the first day, their likelihood of survival decreases 80%”. It also points out “approximately 800,000 babies a year could be saved simply from being exclusively fed breast milk from the moment they are born”.
01.08.16
Journal of Paediatrics
29.07.16
The research found that premature babies who are breastfed during their first month have higher IQs later in life. Infants were found to have larger volumes of certain brain regions and better IQs, academic achievement, working memory and motor function. It is not known how the results could impact on, or relate to, other babies.
29.07.16
Imperial College London
14.07.16
Whole-body MRI scans carried out by scientists show that babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes get fat soon after birth. This latest research included 86 babies at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London – 42 of these mothers had gestational diabetes and 44 were diabetes free. Although there was no differences in body fat between the two groups at birth, babies born to mothers with diabetes had 16% more body fat when they were eight-12 weeks old.
14.07.16
University of Helsinki
13.06.16
Research has highlighted that breastfeeding can help children fight off diseases, and lowers their risk of obesity in childhood. The research found that infants who are breastfed have “stronger immune systems and less chance of gaining excess weight”. It also found that breastfeeding in children who had received no antibiotics before weaning had links to better resistance to diseases and a decreased BMI later in childhood.
13.06.16
University College London
20.05.16
The average age at which people in the UK first become obese is decreasing. Researchers looked at data from more than 56,000 people born in Britain between 1946 and 2001 and found obesity is becoming more common and is starting earlier in life.
20.05.16
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
12.05.16
The study shows that women who develop diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to have “fat” children. The scientists suspect that women with the condition trigger a change in their unborn baby’s metabolism which causes the child to become fatter very soon after birth. It is the first study to show the condition causes such early changes in the baby.
12.05.16
National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys
27.04.16
The research found that diet “starts to go awry” as early as nine months of age. The research points out that, “whilst the first few months of a child’s life are full of nutritious food, it goes to a different direction upon reaching nine months…This is the time when babies get introduced to table foods”.
27.04.16
University of Kentucky
10.11.15
Researchers found signs of early heart damage in obese children. Conducting tests on 40 children (half who were obese and half who had a normal weight) the research found signs of heart trouble in a number of obese children, ranging in age from 8 to 18.
10.11.15
University of Colorado School of Medicine
09.06.15
Research found that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has jumped to £230,000. Parents will spend more than £70,000 for childcare and babysitting alone, and spend another £74,000 on education-related expenses such as uniforms, school lunches, text books and school trips. The costs represent an increase of 65% since 2003.
09.06.15
University of West of England
27.05.15
The study into the BMI of children aged 4 and 11 found that children who are obese when they start primary school are likely to remain overweight right the way through their education. Their findings were published in the Journal of Public Health.
27.05.15
King’s College London
20.05.15
The study found that children who are bullied at school are more likely to grow up to be obese and at greater risk of suffering a heart attack in later life. Whilst previous evidence established a link between bullying in childhood and an increased risk of mental health problems, this report suggests bulling can have a serious effect on physical health as well.
20.05.15

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