The overarching objectives are to optimise diet behaviours and nutrition before conception and during pregnancy to improve the capacity and health of the next-generation, and to understand the mechanisms linking pre-conception and fetal nutrition to lifelong health. The work programme focuses on five externally funded intervention studies among adolescents (of both sexes) or couples planning pregnancy; NiPPeR, HeLTI-India, EACH-B, WRAPPED and TALENT (Figure). Two of the five studies (NiPPeR and HeLTI-India) are randomised controlled trials of packages of interventions which include nutritional supplements for women before and during pregnancy. NiPPeR, which took place in the UK, Singapore and New Zealand, has completed the intervention stage and pregnancies, and is now following up the couples and children. HeLTI-India, one of a harmonised group of trials, also taking place in South Africa, China and Canada, is currently recruiting couples planning a pregnancy. The outcomes of interest in these trials are principally in the children. They include both health outcomes (body composition, cardio-metabolic disease risk markers, bone health and allergic disease) and ‘capacity’ outcomes (physical growth, muscle mass and strength, and cognitive function). They incorporate extensive bio-specimen collection from parents, newborns and children, enabling study of the epigenetic, metabolomic and microbiomic mechanisms underlying programming of long-term effects during development. The other three studies (EACH-B, WRAPPED and TALENT) investigate the drivers of eating behaviour and mechanisms of achieving behaviour change, to develop interventions to improve the nutritional quality of adolescents’ and young women’s everyday diets. Outcomes are in the adolescents and women themselves, and these studies do not (as yet) involve the next generation. EACH-B and WRAPPED are taking place in the UK and TALENT in India and Africa. Alongside these intervention studies, we will continue to prosecute a wealth of high-profile externally funded cohort studies such as the Southampton Women’s Survey and the Mysore Parthenon Study. These continue to generate high impact outputs, as well as new knowledge to inform future interventional research.

Senior Scientists

  • Professor Janis Baird
  • Professor Keith Godfrey
  • Dr Kalyanaraman Kumaran
  • Professor Karen Lillycrop
  • Professor Mary Barker
  • Dr Wendy Lawrence
  • Professor Caroline Fall
  • Professor Hazel Inskip
  • Professor Nicholas Harvey
  • Professor Karen Walker-Bone
  • Professor Kate Ward
  • Professor Cyrus Cooper