Healthy Start - The First 1000 days
Professor Bernard Gerbaka,
Chief of Pediatrics at Hotel Dieu de France
The First 1000 Days include the period before conception, the pregnancy and the first two years of life. The life-long health of individuals, and hence the success of their nations, is strongly influenced by nutrition in early life. In fact a mother’s pre-pregnancy nutritional status and her nutrition during adolescence are key determinants of how she can furnish her child with optimal nutrition. It might take time to correct existing deficiency syndromes in mothers so very early intervention (preferably life-long) is important.
Nutrition during the first 1000 days, which includes the period from preconception to the post-weaning period at 2 years of age influences growth and cognitive development but is also important for the development of NCDs later in life. There is evidence that early nutrition can influence our genes (polymorphisms) and gene function (epigenetics). Intensive research during the oncoming years will result in better understanding the interactions between nutrition during the first 1000 days, NCDs, and the function of key genes.