Early years children clapping in nursery
There is a wealth of evidence about the importance of supporting the healthy development of children. 
Difficulties in early life (including poor diet and substance abuse during pregnancy; and exposure to domestic violence and mental health problems during childhood) are known to produce a cascade of complex biological consequences that impact the processes of childhood growth and development. Associated environmental and genetic influences result in widespread changes in gene expression affecting metabolism and neurobiological function. The latter, in turn affect resilience, ability to communicate, readiness to learn, behaviour and educational performance at school; and risk of low self-esteem, problematic substance use, criminality, poor health and employment status during adulthood. 
Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) aims to better understand these risk factors, identify theory-based prevention interventions and develop evidence on best practice in the care of children and young people. Much of the research undertaken by the institute in this area occurs in our interdisciplinary Future Generations Research Group.

Health of children

We have a longstanding interest in the long-term outcomes of nutritional exposures in infancy and childhood, e.g. through our work on developing allergies ( Maslin).
Dental health is an area that we have found to be particularly subject to social inequality in childhood and we specialise in developing community-based interventions to promote children’s oral health in UK and internationally e.g. United Arab Emirates ( Kay, Paisi, Nasser, Callaghan
PIHR hosts the EarlyBird study, which developed a unique childhood cohort examining insulin resistance among children and which is now offering opportunities to investigate the longer-term implications of metabolic variations for health ( Pinkney, Hoskins). Meinert is leading the evaluation of two Apps designed to promote the prevention and management of childhood obesity.
Myopia and low vision have become increasingly prevalent amongst children. The 'Designing Inclusive Landscape Structures for Myopic and Low Vision Children in Educational Environments' project brings together researchers in optometry (Oehring), environmental science (Martin) and early childhood education (Campbell Barr) to explore the role of outdoor activities in mitigating myopia, and study how inclusive landscape design can encourage such activities. 

Health of young people

We have produced evidence of a shift in childhood disadvantage and associated problems of low educational attainment and high rates of hospitalisation for self-harm, alcohol and substance use among young people from inner cities to Britain’s coastal areas (Asthana, Gibson).
We explore the role of education, school-based emotional learning and resilience building as modifiable risk factors for health inequalities (Asthana, Axford, Welbourne).
Brennan investigated young people, technology and online behaviour (such as sexting and revenge pornography) and has advised the Technology Coalition of major tech companies on combatting online child sexual abuse.
Close and Lloyd are investigating the interface between online gaming and gambling and its impact on wellbeing in in adolescents and young adults to inform national policy.
In social work Oliver Beer’s research interests include experiences of online microaggressions among LGBTQ+ youth and the longer-term impacts of parental substance use and incarceration on African American youth.