Adolescence and the next generation

Securing a child’s future must begin in parents’ teen years.

A child’s growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy – even going back to adolescence – according to a new paper in Nature. Lead author Professor George Patton argues that tackling health problems including obesity, mental health, poor nutrition and substance abuse in young people before they become parents is essential for the best possible start to life for their future children. Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute say that taking action once a woman knows she is pregnant is often starting too late.

This Nature paper brings together a number of experts from around the Parkville Precinct:

Professor George Patton - Professorial Fellow in Adolescent Health Research, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Paediatrics Royal Children's Hospital

Associate Professor Craig Olsson - School of Psychological Sciences

Dr Richard Saffery - Department of Paediatrics, at the Royal Children’s Hospital

Professor Mary Wlodek - Professor and Head, Foetal, postnatal & adult physiology and disease laboratory, Department of Physiology

Professor Peter Azzopardi - Department of Paediatrics, at the Royal Children’s Hospital

Dr Elizabeth Spry - Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Dr Nicola Reavley - Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Professor Susan Sawyer - Director, Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital; Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne.

Read a summary of the research