Centre for Global Health Policy

Beyond Birth Weight: Measuring Early Life Health Conditions Past, Present and Future

 24-25 October 2014

University of Sussex

Organisers: Dr Eric Schneider (University of Sussex) and Prof. Mark Hanson (University of Southampton)


Recent findings highlighting the long-term consequences of poor early life development demand that health conditions in utero be incorporated into a broader understanding of public health today and in the past. Children exposed to poor conditions in utero are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes in later life and have lower educational attainment, earnings and greater disability than those experiencing good conditions. Unfortunately, measuring early life health conditions is difficult and the current favoured proxy, birth weight, is problematic. This workshop aims to bring together researchers with varied expertise related to early life health to discuss the strengths, weaknesses and complexities of various proxies for early life health conditions. We will focus on two crucial questions:

(1) Which early life health proxies could scholars collect and analyse in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to understand changes in health?

(2) Which early life health proxies could be adopted around the world today in order to assess and monitor the profile of early life health? The workshop will encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among the participants and will produce a statement with recommendations for incorporating early life health indicators into a broader understanding of public health past and present.



1)      A consensus statement with recommendations for incorporating early life health indicators into a broader understanding of public health

2)      A new, cross-disciplinary network of academics across the UK and Europe interested in advancing the measurement of early life health conditions

3)      New collaborative projects coming from the workshop

4)      If desirable, a special issue of a journal to publish papers from collaborations developed at the workshop


If you are interested in learning more about the workshop, please email Dr Schneider: E.B.Schneider@sussex.ac.uk.

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