Funding boost for Plymouth child-to-adult health study

Lauren Bullard Image copyright Alan Stewart
Image caption Lauren Bullard has had her health monitored since 2000 as part of the EarlyBird project

A 15-year-long study into the affect childhood lifestyle has on adult health will continue with new funding.

The EarlyBird study has followed 300 young people from the age of five since 2000 to measure the impact of childhood diet and exercise on later life.

Plymouth University academics behind the study believe it is the only one of its kind in the world to follow the same children for such a long period.

Funding of £500,000 will now allow the project to continue until 2017.

EarlyBird3 has won the funding from Plymouth University, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the Clinical Research Network: South West Peninsula, which is part of the National Institute for Health Research, and Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences Ltd.

Childhood origins

The study has weighed, measured and investigated children in the Plymouth area to see how their lifestyles, diet and exercise patterns affect their health - especially diabetes.

EarlyBird previously found modern children were "at quite substantial risk" of the condition.

The third phase of the project will also explore the childhood origins of dental, psychological and respiratory health problems.

Jonathan Pinkney, professor of endocrinology and diabetes at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, said: "Not only will this give us a better understanding of how such diseases develop, it will also help us to identify methods for disease prevention and when in our life development it is best to implement those."

The study organisers are re-recruiting members of the original group.

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