Public Release: 

New solutions to persisting infant and child malnutrition on offer at DOHaD Congress

University of the Witwatersrand

Over 600 experts from around the world will meet to address the many challenges that currently impact the health of mothers, babies in the womb, infants, children and adolescents at the Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) congress, which will be held in Africa for the first time.

Held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 8 to 11 November, delegates at the 9th World Congress will explore solutions, interventions and policies to optimise people's health throughout their lifetime.

For all health journalists based outside Cape Town, but still would like to cover any research from the Congress, an abstract booklet has been attached.

Scientists, clinical researchers, obstetricians, paediatricians, public health professionals and policy leaders will offer research that has substantial implications for many transitioning African societies and for global health policy.

The Congress will provide new solutions to persisting infant and child malnutrition, and the burgeoning epidemic of obesity and non-communicable diseases, says Wits Professor Shane Norris, Chair of the Congress.

"A poor start to life is associated with an increased risk for a number of disorders, especially non-communicable diseases in later life. These disorders include cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic disturbances, osteoporosis, chronic obstructive lung disease, some forms of cancer, and mental illnesses," said Norris.

The DOHaD concept describes how during early life (conception, pregnancy, infancy and childhood) the interplay between maternal and environmental factors programme (induce physiological changes) fetal and child growth and development that have long-term consequences on later health and disease risk.

Timely interventions may reduce these risks in individuals and also limit their transmission to the next generation. Norris is also the Director of the SAMRC Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Main programme topics will cover:

  • DOHaD and the new Sustainable Development Goals
  • Placenta as a programming force
  • Maternal-foetal crosstalk
  • Gestational diabetes
  • The importance of "The First 1000 Days"
  • Infant feeding, growth and cognitive development
  • Brain power in understanding programming
  • The nutrition triplets: under nutrition, over nutrition and food security
  • Childhood obesity
  • DOHaD and adolescence & ageing
  • Can we modify programmed outcomes - translation, interventions and policy
  • DOHaD and clinical practice.

Date: 8-11 November 2015
Time: See website for times
Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre


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