The first 1,000 days of life: explained

30 Nov 2017
The first 1,000 days of life: explained

How important are the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life? Professor Tim Green, Principal Nutritionist from SAHMRI’s Women and Kids theme / the University of Adelaide, along with his colleagues, have released a new book ‘The Biology of the First 1,000 Days’, which addresses this question.

The book outlines this crucial interval of early life across biological disciplines, linking concepts related to all biological fields to outcomes during the first 1,000 days (such as foetal growth and pregnancy outcomes) and beyond (such as the gut microbiome and cardiovascular disease later in life).

Why is this stage of life so important?

The first 1,000 days, from conception to two years of age, is a critical period of growth and development. Exposures to dietary, environmental, hormonal, and other stressors during this window have been associated with an increased risk of poor health outcomes, some of which are irreversible.

About the book

Officially launched at the 21st International Congress of Nutrition (ICN) in Argentina last month, this book has been co-edited by Professor Green, Professor Crystal Karakochuk of the University of British Columbia (Canada), Professor Kyly Whitfield of Mount Saint Vincent University (Canada) and Dr Klaus Kraemer of Sight and Life (Switzerland) / Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (USA).

Sight and Life’s generosity will enable open access of the electronic version of the book to equip scientists, clinicians and practitioners in low and middle-income countries with state of the art knowledge of this critical period of development.

‘The Biology of the First 1,000 Days’ outlines:

  • The importance and irreversible nature of growth and nutrition experienced in the first 1,000 days of life
  • The negative impacts of malnutrition, hormonal stressors, environmental enteropathies, inadequate early growth, and others in later life
  • The biology and pathophysiology of the myriad influences on early health and development
  • Normal and abnormal foetal and infant development associated with prenatal and postnatal exposures
  • Some suggestions for interventions mitigating poor foetal and early postnatal conditions

Professor Green said that it was very fortunate that many leading experts in the area from all over the world were able to contribute to this book.

“This book provides very practical tools that can be implemented in low-and-middle-income countries to improve the health outcomes for children in these areas,” Professor Green said.

“We are incredibly grateful to Sight and Life for their support, which makes it possible for us to provide open access to health professionals from around the world, working in such communities.”

Dr Kraemer said that The Biology of the First 1,000 Days is a milestone in Sight and Life’s quest to provide the best possible scientific evidence to health professionals in low-and middle-income countries.

"Therefore, I am very excited that this book has already been well-recognised by many thought leaders in our field and beyond,” Dr Kraemer said.

About Sight and Life

Sight and Life is a humanitarian nutrition think tank delivering innovative solutions to eliminate all forms of malnutrition in children and women of childbearing age and improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Sight and Life delivers value in the nutrition sphere by accelerating the translation of research to innovative solutions at scale. Their work begins with a profound understanding of the biological factors that influence the nutritional status, how to add nutritional value to food value chains, and ends with research on healthy choices for consumers. They translate their scientific knowledge to build sustainable business models and public-sector programs that deliver best possible strategies to communities. For more information please visit