• Epigenetic gene promoter methylation at birth is associated with the child’s later adiposity,1 and peroxisomal proliferator activated receptor-γ-co-activator-1α promoter methylation in blood at 5–7 years is associated with adiposity from 9 to 14 years;2 genetic differences alone explain, at best, 25% of neonatal methylome variation, with the remaining 75% explained by the interaction of genetic differences with the prenatal environment.3
  • A peer-led behavioural intervention enhances women’s sense of control, a determinant of nutritional status in disadvantaged communities.4
  • Women do not prepare for pregnancy to any great extent, and although they modify some health behaviours during pregnancy, the quality of their diet differs little from before pregnancy;5,6,7 the factor most strongly associated with the quality of infant and childhood diets is the quality of the mother’s diet before conception.8
  • Excessive weight gain and low maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy are linked to programmed differences in fat mass in the offspring.9,10

Programme Leaders:

  • Professor Hazel Inskip
  • Professor Keith Godfrey
  • Professor Clive Osmond
  • Professor Sian Robinson
  • Dr Janis Baird
  • Dr Mary Barker


  1. Godfrey KM, Sheppard A, Gluckman PD, Lillycrop KA, Burdge GC, McLean C, Rodford J, Slater-Jefferies JL, Garratt E, Crozier SR, Emerald BS, Gale CR, Inskip HM, Cooper C, Hanson MA. Epigenetic  Gene  Promoter  Methylation  at  Birth  Is  Associated  With  Child’s  Later  Adiposity. Diabetes 2011;60:1528-1534.
  2. Clarke-Harris R, Wilkin TJ, Hosking J, Pinkney J, Jeffery AN, Metcalf BS, Godfrey KM, Voss LD, Lillycrop  KA,  Burdge  GC.  Peroxisomal  proliferator  activated  receptor-gamma-co-activator-1alpha  promoter  methylation  in  blood  at  5-7  years  predicts  adiposity  from  9  to  14  years (EarlyBird 50). Diabetes. In press, 2014.
  3. Teh AL, Pan H, Chen L, Ong ML, Dogra S, Wong J, et al. including Barton S & Godfrey K. The effect  of  genotype  and  in  utero  environment  on  inter-individual  variation  in  neonate  DNA methylomes:  Evidence  for  interaction  of  genetic  and  environmental  effects.  Genome Research. In press 2014.
  4. Lawrence W, Black C, Tinati T, Cradock S, Begum R, Jarman M, Pease A, Margett B, Davies J, Inskip H, Cooper C, Baird J, Barker M. Making every contact count’: longitudinal evaluation of the impact of training in behaviour change on the work of health and social care practitioners. J Health Psychol. In press 2014.
  5. Crozier  SR,  Robinson  SM,  Borland  SE,  Godfrey  KM,  Cooper  C,  Inskip  HM.  Do  women  change their  health  behaviours  in  pregnancy?  Findings  from  the  Southampton  Women’s  Survey. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2009;23:446-453.
  6. Crozier SR, Robinson SM, Godfrey KM, Cooper C, Inskip HM. Women’s dietary patterns change little from before to during pregnancy. J Nutr 2009;139:1956-1963.
  7. Inskip HM, Crozier SR, Godfrey KM, Borland SE, Cooper C, Robinson SM. Women’s compliance with  nutrition  and  lifestyle  recommendations  before  pregnancy:  general  population  cohort study. BMJ 2009;338:b481.
  8. Fisk CM, Crozier SR, Inskip HM, Godfrey KM, Cooper C, Robinson SM. Influences on the quality of young children’s diets: the importance of maternal food choices. Br J Nutr 2011;105:287-296.
  9. Crozier SR, Inskip HM, Godfrey KM, Cooper C, Harvey NC, Cole ZA, Robinson SM. Weight gain in pregnancy and childhood body composition: findings from the Southampton Women’s Survey. Am J Clin Nutr 2010;91:1745-1751.
  10. Crozier  SR,  Harvey  NC,  Inskip  HM,  Godfrey  KM,  Cooper  C,  Robinson  SM.  Maternal  vitamin  D status  in  pregnancy  is  associated  with  adiposity  in  the  offspring:  findings  from  the Southampton Women’s Survey. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:57-63.