Maximizing human developmental

Questions and Answers

In research and statistics, a group of individuals who share a characteristic at some specific time and who are then followed forward in time, with data being collected at one or more suitable intervals. An example of this is a birth cohort, in which children are born in a specified time period and followed-up into later childhood and beyond.

The major ground-breaking perspective of LifeCycle is to establish a sustainable European Pregnancy and Child Cohort by bringing together existing and successful cohorts into a new and open EU CHILD Cohort Network. We will then use this unique network to identify new markers of integrated early-life stressors related to health trajectories throughout the full life cycle and translate our findings into policy recommendations for stratified and targeted prevention strategies focused on parents and young children. LifeCycle will lead to major progress in developing new perspectives on early-life prevention strategies.

Unfortunately, there is not one secret to a long and healthy life that will apply to everyone. The duration and quality of your life in terms of health depends on a vast variety of factors. Among others, your genes, lifestyle choices, your environment and diet. The LifeCycle Project will try to unravel which combination of exposures during pregnancy and childhood influences your heart, lung and mental health.

Previous research from LifeCycle partners has identified various factors which help pregnant women to optimize their own health and the health of their offspring. These include normal weight, no cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption, healthy diet, and use of folic acid supplements, both before and during pregnancy.

Your health is an outcome of the interplay between your genes and your lifestyle. You may have genes that will make you susceptible for heart diseases or diabetes for example. However, your lifestyle choices can make a big difference. How much both (genes and lifestyle) contribute to your health is very hard to say and is under a lot of debate.

A health trajectory is a description of a person’s health as he/she gets older.

A stressor is any external stimulus or condition that may cause a response to an individual. You can think of any kinds of stressors, for example environmental stressors (air pollution or temperature), chemical stressors (tobacco or alcohol) or social stressors (family demands or being bullied).

What do you want to know about the LifeCycle project? Send us your questions!