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.