Early Nutrition and Long-Term Health

Early Nutrition and Long-Term Health

Why nutrition  in early life matters?

Task Force Information

Objectives and list of Task Force members

Contact Information

Contact details in case you have specific questions

Activity Overview

Overview of ongoing and upcoming activities

Expert Groups

Objectives, output and list of experts involved in each activity

Publications

List of publications of this
Task Force

Multimedia

Links to Task Force related documents, recordings and much more...

Completed Expert Groups

Details including experts involved of
each activity

Task Force Information

Objectives

The Task Force aims at providing scientific evidence to support guidelines for maternal and infant nutrition to ensure life-time optimal health. It also identifies risk factors for obesity and other health consequences at the earliest stages of life.

Task Force Members

Contact Information

For more detailed information, please contact Ching-Yu Chang at cchang@ilsieurope.be

Activity Overview

Ongoing

- Body composition early in life and long-term health 

The EG is reviewing the available evidence on the factors that influence body composition during fatal life, infancy and childhood and on the association of body composition with long-term health outcomes.

Start date: November 2021 | End date: Q3 2023

- Early biomarkers for prediction of metabolic health

The EG aims to review biomarkers in early life that could be used to predict development of childhood obesity and metabolic health. This prediction may drive development and knowledge of personalized (infant) nutrition.

Start date: May 2021 | End date: Q4 2023

- Carbohydrates in toddlers’ nutrition

The activity aims to collect scientific evidence about digestible and non digestible carbohydrates in relation to health outcomes for toddlers (1-3 years old), taking into consideration complementary food as well as young child formula. The activity is shared with DC Task Force.

Start date: December 2021 | End date: Q4 2023

- Lipid quality in early life nutrition

The activity aims to generate an overview of the dietary lipid quality in the first year of life and to what extent this brings or relates to health benefits for consumers, with a focus on exploring appropriate intake levels of SFAs and MUFAs.

Start date: Q3 2022 | End date: Q2 2024

Upcoming

- Nutritional quality of plant protein-based infant formula

More info to come soon...

Start date: Q4 2023 | End date: Q4 2025

Expert Groups

Body composition early in Life and long-term health

Background and Objectives

This activity will review the available evidence on the factors that influence body composition during fetal life, infancy and childhood and on the association of body composition with long-term health outcomes. In addition, a gap analysis will be performed to outline future research needs

Output

The results will be compiled in a review and published in a peer-reviewed journal with the purpose of informing scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders on knowledge gaps and research directions. The outcome will also provide insights on critical periods of life where body composition measurement should be included to identify at-risk populations.

Expert Group Members

 

Early biomarkers for prediction of metabolic health

Background and Objectives

The aim of the activity is to review biomarkers in early life that could be used to predict development of childhood obesity and metabolic health. The activity will focus on invasive and non-invasive, perinatal and postnatal biomarkers. This activity aims to:

- Summarise the current evidence for early life (perinatal and postnatal) biomarkers that are able to predict childhood obesity and related metabolic health.

- Emphasise relevance of combining conventional predictive markers (e.g. early weight gain) with novel applications of metabolomics, epigenetics and microbiota profiling. It will help to more accurately and effectively identify infants at risk to develop obesity.

- Emphasise importance of validity and reliability of identified biomarkers for application of such biomarkers in (daily) practice.

Output

The highlighted (recent) findings in the development of biomarkers for early life prediction of metabolic health could be used to guide risk prediction and stratification. This prediction may drive development and knowledge of personalised (infant) nutrition to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Researchers should become aware of the urgency to develop and validate new predictive biomarkers that are both easily detectable and responsive to nutritional interventions.

Expert Group Members

Lipid quality in early life nutrition

Background and Objectives

The activity aims to generate an overview of the fatty acid (FA) quality composition consumption (by means of from all dietary sources; human milk, infant milk formula and complementary feeding) in the first year of life and to what extent this brings or relates to its relation to health benefits for infants consumers. A particular focus is given on exploring appropriate intake levels of Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA) and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA).

Output

The results will be compiled in a review and published in a peer-reviewed journal. The publication will summarise expert insights and hopefully propose a consensus on the FA profile of the first year of life diet. It will highlight knowledge gaps and outline plans for future research and possibly a basis for new EFSA recommendations.

Expert Group Members

 

Publications

All Publications

Health relevance of lowering postprandial glycaemia in the paediatric population through diet’: results from a multistakeholder workshop

To summarize current knowledge and gaps regarding the role of postprandial glycaemic response in the paediatric population, a workshop was organized in June 2021 by the European branch of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI). The workshop led to the consensus on the crucial role on health of postprandial glycaemic response in paediatric population.

Read more

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Objective

Obesity and excess adiposity are leading causes of metabolic and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Early identification of individuals at risk is key for preventive strategies. We examined the relationship between infant body composition (0-2 years of age) and later (>2 years) health outcomes using a systematic review.

Design

We preregistered the study on PROSPERO (ID 288013) and searched Embase, PubMed and Cochrane databases for English language publications using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms 'infant' and 'body composition' and 'risk' between January 1946 and February 2022. We included studies which assessed infant body composition using predetermined in vivo methods other than body mass index (BMI).

Results

We identified 6015 articles. After abstract screening to assess eligibility, we reviewed 130 full text publications. 30 were included in the final assessment and narrative synthesis. Meta-analysis was not possible due to heterogeneity of results. All 30 studies were of high quality and reported associations between infant body composition and 19 different health outcomes after 2 years of age. Outcome measurements ranged from 2 years to 16 years. The strongest associations were found between infant fat mass and later fat mass (7 studies), and later BMI (5 studies). For 11 of the outcomes assessed, there was no relationship to infant adiposity detected.

Conclusions

Current evidence, from a small number of studies, suggests a positive association between infant adiposity and future adiposity or BMI, but the validity of infant body composition as a biomarker of future health remains inconclusive. Carefully designed, standardised studies are required to identify the value of infant body composition for predicting later health.

Download the full article here.

Download the article one-pager below

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The intestinal microbiota plays a major role in infant health and development. However, the role of the breastmilk microbiota in infant gut colonisation remains unclear. A systematic review was performed to evaluate the composition of the breastmilk microbiota and evidence for transfer to/colonisation of the infant gut. Searches were performed using PUBMED, OVID, LILACS and PROQUEST from inception until 18th March 2020 with a PUBMED update to December 2021. 88 full texts were evaluated before final critique based on study power, sample contamination avoidance, storage, purification process, DNA extraction/analysis, and consideration of maternal health and other potential confounders. Risk of skin contamination was reduced mainly by breast cleaning and rejecting the first milk drops. Sample storage, DNA extraction and bioinformatics varied. Several studies stored samples under conditions that may selectively impact bacterial DNA preservation, others used preculture reducing reliability. Only 15 studies, with acceptable sample size, handling, extraction, and bacterial analysis, considered transfer of bacteria to the infant. Three reported bacterial transfer from infant to breastmilk. Despite consistent evidence for the breastmilk microbiota, and recent studies using improved methods to investigate factors affecting its composition, few studies adequately considered transfer to the infant gut providing very little evidence for effective impact on gut colonisation.

Keywords Expand

Microbiota, infant, breast milk, gut colonisation, systematic review

To download this open-access article, please click here.

Commissioned by the Early Nutrition and Long-Term Health Task Force.

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Early Nutrition and Long-Term Health

Nutrition and Brain Health

Nutrition, Immunity and Inflammation

Prebiotics

Probiotics

GUT MICROBIOME AND HEALTH and NUTRITION AND CONSUMER SCIENCE

The gut and brain link via various metabolic and signalling pathways, each with the potential to influence mental, brain and cognitive health. Over the past decade, the involvement of the gut microbiota in gut-brain communication has become the focus of increased scientific interest, establishing the microbiota-gut-brain axis as a field of research. There is a growing number of association studies exploring the gut microbiota's possible role in memory, learning, anxiety, stress, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Consequently, attention is now turning to how the microbiota can become the target of nutritional and therapeutic strategies for improved brain health and well-being. However, while such strategies that target the gut microbiota to influence brain health and function are currently under development with varying levels of success, still very little is yet known about the triggers and mechanisms underlying the gut microbiota's apparent influence on cognitive or brain function and most evidence comes from pre-clinical studies rather than well controlled clinical trials/investigations. Filling the knowledge gaps requires establishing a standardised methodology for human studies, including strong guidance for specific focus areas of the microbiota-gut-brain axis, the need for more extensive biological sample analyses, and identification of relevant biomarkers. Other urgent requirements are new advanced models for in vitro and in vivo studies of relevant mechanisms, and a greater focus on omics technologies with supporting bioinformatics resources (training, tools) to efficiently translate study findings, as well as the identification of relevant targets in study populations. The key to building a validated evidence base rely on increasing knowledge sharing and multi-disciplinary collaborations, along with continued public-private funding support. This will allow microbiota-gut-brain axis research to move to its next phase so we can identify realistic opportunities to modulate the microbiota for better brain health.

To download this open-access article, please click here.

This work was conducted in collaboration with the Early Nutrition and Long-Term Health, Nutrition and Brain Health, Nutrition, Immunity and Inflammation, Prebiotics and Probiotics Task Forces.

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Objective

Obesity and excess adiposity are leading causes of metabolic and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Early identification of individuals at risk is key for preventive strategies. We examined the relationship between infant body composition (0-2 years of age) and later (>2 years) health outcomes using a systematic review.

Design

We preregistered the study on PROSPERO (ID 288013) and searched Embase, PubMed and Cochrane databases for English language publications using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms 'infant' and 'body composition' and 'risk' between January 1946 and February 2022. We included studies which assessed infant body composition using predetermined in vivo methods other than body mass index (BMI).

Results

We identified 6015 articles. After abstract screening to assess eligibility, we reviewed 130 full text publications. 30 were included in the final assessment and narrative synthesis. Meta-analysis was not possible due to heterogeneity of results. All 30 studies were of high quality and reported associations between infant body composition and 19 different health outcomes after 2 years of age. Outcome measurements ranged from 2 years to 16 years. The strongest associations were found between infant fat mass and later fat mass (7 studies), and later BMI (5 studies). For 11 of the outcomes assessed, there was no relationship to infant adiposity detected.

Conclusions

Current evidence, from a small number of studies, suggests a positive association between infant adiposity and future adiposity or BMI, but the validity of infant body composition as a biomarker of future health remains inconclusive. Carefully designed, standardised studies are required to identify the value of infant body composition for predicting later health.

Download the full article here.

Download the article one-pager below

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Multimedia

Introductory video

One-Pager

Completed Expert Groups