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DOHaD Science and Workforce Project on Show at ANA (Agencies for Nutrition Action) Forum

December 2013

Nutrition specialists, health promotion, community health and maternity care experts heard how Gravida's and international DOHaD (developmental origins of health and disease) findings can help inform future best-practice nutrition and exercise advice for mothers, children and families at the annual ANA (Agencies for Nutrition Action) Asian Forum on 5 December 2013.

Associate Professor Mark Vickers, investigator for Gravida, presented an overview of wide-ranging DOHaD research findings, including how both extremes of maternal undernutrition and maternal obesity can affect children's health; the effects of maternal exercise and sugar and salt intake on body composition and metabolic disorders in offspring; the influence of other factors such as leptin, taurine and folic acid; and the concept of ''preventing'' metabolic ''programming'' that otherwise could go on to be passed to future generations.

He also explained the relevance of these findings in particular for Asian families, the main focus of the day's agenda.

Assoc Prof Vickers was followed by Jackie Gunn, the Lead Curriculum Developer for Gravida's new national workforce training project being funded by the Ministry of Health (MOH). Ms Gunn explained that the key principles from DOHaD findings will form the basis of new modules that translate the science into practical application for the health workforce, and will be developed for piloting next year. Designed for all front line health care workers who care for pregnant mothers and young families, the modules will first be made available to midwives, Plunket nurses and Well Child Tamariki Ora providers as well as the other providers awarded under the MOH maternal contracts umbrella. The principles taught can then be tailored as needed for individual, family or community health programmes, campaigns and advice.

Review Assoc Prof Vickers' presentation here on the ANA website.

Review Jackie Gunn's presentation here on the ANA website.

Other presentations at the ANA Asian forum discussed key findings from a recent Plunket research project with Asian families, and several other projects underway with other MOH maternal contracts providers. During the afternoon participants discussed research needs, Asian public health workforce development, cultural differences and barriers to accessing services. The key points and themes from these discussions will be drawn into a document to be available from ANA early next year.

Find out more about Gravida's new national workforce training project, our partners, and what else the project will include here.

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