Health Horizons - Issue 6

Health Horizons: The Healthy Start Issue | June 2014

Giving children a healthy start to life is a broad and complex topic, as you’ll discover from this edition of Health Horizons. Sansom Institute researchers are involved with work as diverse as understanding what makes a healthy baby to how we encourage growing children to make exercise and good food a natural part of life. Our Commentary looks at the importance of Vitamin D for the young as well as the old, and we spend five minutes with a researcher who attracted global attention when he unveiled his latest findings. We hope you enjoy the stories in this edition. Your feedback is always welcome, please email

Research Spotlight

Being born small can have implications for life

Research shows that more than 60% of cardiac disease can be linked to people being born smaller than they should have been. That’s a figure Janna Morrison still finds “pretty startling” despite the reality of it having underpinned her professional life for the past decade.

As a fetal physiologist, and Head of our Early Origins of Adult Health Research Group, Associate Professor Morrison leads a team that is investigating why some babies don’t reach their growth potential and the implications of this.


Do genetics help determine how babies respond to drug use?

Drug use during pregnancy has myriad implications for both mother and fetus, including the likelihood of low birth weight for the newborn. Encouraging women to use alternatives – such as methadone or buprenorphine instead of heroin – can negate or reduce some of the potential impacts, but not all.



Don’t forget the ‘D’ in ‘healthy start’

When we think of the factors that are essential to “a healthy start”, we must not forget Vitamin D. It is an essential nutrient at all stages of life, literally from the cradle to the grave, but recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlight some issues of concern.



Research In Action

Strategies to avoid the mealtime blues

It is one of the great frustrations of parenting that children will eat fruit and vegetables at childcare then refuse to do so at home, often quite theatrically. Dr Rebecca Golley is about to test whether that “puzzle” can in fact be part of the solution to the broader issue of encouraging healthy eating habits.


Making activity a natural part of life

One of the keys to encouraging young people to stay active is understanding why they don’t. Researchers in our Health and Use of Time group are involved with national and international projects analysing the factors that impact on the opportunities available to children and teenagers, the choices they make, and possible ways to influence those choices.


Five Minutes With:

Dr Grant Tomkinson

Dr Grant Tomkinson made headlines around the world last November when he revealed that the aerobic fitness of children has declined by about 15% since the mid-1970s. We asked Grant a little more about his research, and the overwhelming response.



Areas of study and research

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