Researchers from The University of Western Australia and its affiliate, - Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research - will join more than 50 scientists from 36 research institutions around the world to improve early nutrition to boost long-term health.
Coordinated by the Hauner Children's Hospital, University of Munich, EarlyNutrition, brings together a multidisciplinary team of internationally acknowledged scientists, with significant experience in complementary areas of nutrition, child and maternal health.
UWA Adjunct Professor Wendy Oddy, Head of Nutrition research at the Telethon Institute, said the EarlyNutrition project could have a significant impact on how obesity and related health conditions are treated.
"This research will help us develop an international set of recommendations about the key components of nutrition in babies and children that give them the best basis for adult health," Professor Oddy said.
"Western Australia's Raine Study, which is based at the Telethon Institute, is one of the largest and most successful studies of pregnancy, childhood, adolescence and young adulthood anywhere in the world and will be a uniquely valuable resource over the course of this investigation."
Using state of the art methodology, the EarlyNutrition team will concentrate on four target groups: women prior to pregnancy; pregnant and breastfeeding women; infants; and young children, to explore the likely causes and pathways to obesity.
International Project coordinator, Professor Berthold Koletzko, from the University of Munich, said previous research suggested that early nutrition and lifestyle had a long lasting effect on later health and risk of disease.
"Obesity overall, and particularly in childhood, has increased rapidly all over the world during the past three decades," Professor Koletzko said. "There is an urgent need to develop and apply effective strategies to reverse this alarming trend."
Adjunct Professor Wendy Oddy (Head of Nutrition research at ICHR (+61 8) 9489 7879
Liz Chester (Strategic Communications, ICHR (+61 8) 9489 7965 / (+61 4) 09 988 530
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783