April 2, 2014
East & Bays Courier, N.Z. Wednesday 16th January 2008.
Professor Peter Gluckman is leading a major international project, involving economists, scientists and public health experts to determine the economic and social costs of an unhealthy start to life. For the past 15 years Dr Gluckman’s team has focused on how early life development can determine a person’s health throughout life. “The most important fundamental question in medicine is what makes us what we are – for example why is one person fat and another not, or why does one person have a successful pregnancy and the next doesn’t?” he says. “The answer is it’s about your genes and the way you live. But it’s equally about the way you develop from the time you’re a single fertilised egg and that’s something that’s largely been left out of the medical and public health equation”.
A poor start to life, often the result of poor maternal nutrition and health, can have far-reaching consequences such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and learning disorders, he says. “We believe that by providing hard evidence to governments and health agencies there’ll be a change in influence on where health dollars are spent”.