Severely jet-lagged as I am, I have today put Chapter 6 of my book into that nice big pink box file where the completed chapters sit. Chapter 6 is all about the nutrition of children, covering birth to thirteen years of age. There are sections on weaning, the impact of poverty, obesity, the power of food advertising,faddy eating and school-based health interventions. As with the other chapters, I have greatly expanded the number of illustrations and table materials.
Just three more to write and then I am on to the online support elements and all the annoying bits and bobs like contents and abbreviations. If all goes to plan, should be finished early autumn.
I have just come to the end of a frenetic two days at Loma Linda University in Southern California where I have been a visiting scientist. Alongside giving two seminars on our work on fetal programming I have had the chance to meet and talk to a great range of staff and students. I have enjoyed hearing about the work going on here- and especially how so many different lines of enquiry which focus on fetal undernutrition and hypoxia dovetail with some of our own recent work. In addition I’ve had the chance to speak to the leader of the brilliant Seventh Day Adventists health study, which I have so often talked about in teaching and was writing about in my book just a few weeks ago.
I am happy to report that Sutton Bonington is not unique in having a supportive, collegiate and genuinely collaborative scientific community. I don’t think I have ever visited a place where I have been so warmly welcomed. A big thank you to the great Dr Lawrence Longo for the invitation and the great honour of meeting him, plus the gift of his fascinating new book.
I shall be homeward bound tomorrow- looking forward to some cooler weather and home comforts again.
Congratulations to Kirsten Whitehead who successfully defended her thesis today. Kirsten has been working with me and co-supervisors Judy Swift and Victoria Tischler on a project that developed the DIET-COMMS tool for the evaluation of communications skills for behaviour change, in dietetic consultations. It has been a long road as Kirsten has been working on the PhD part-time whilst managing her demanding day-job. Her success is not at all unexpected (it was an excellent thesis) and very richly deserved.
Our MAGIC study is going into the final phase this month as we send out the 12 months postpartum questionnaires to our participants. MAGIC was designed to investigate weight gain and weight retention in pregnant women and initially recruited women in the 12th or 20th week of gestation. Since then our participants have completed questionnaires at 32 weeks gestation, shortly after giving birth and at 6 months postpartum.
Our questionnaires explore aspects of diet and physical activity, emotional well-being and the experience of pregnancy. We hope to be drafting our first papers soon.
I am appearing on BBC Radio Nottingham on Friday between 9:45 and 10:00 a.m. I will be talking about body mass index and other ways of measuring body fatness. It is live, and very scary.
I am in the process of preparing for my next trip of the sabbatical (as this period in my life is euphemistically referred to). I will be the Visiting Scientist in the Center for Perinatal Biology, Department of Physiology/Pharmacology of Loma Linda University in California of mid May. I will be giving two lectures during my stay.
Basic Science Lecture: Maternal protein restriction and the programming of metabolic and physiological function.
Perinatal Biology Lecture: Maternal nutrition and pathways to disease: Mechanisms of intrauterine programming.
The Basic Science lecture will be a bit different to my usual fare. I am going for a trip down memory lane and reviewing the last 20 years of our work in fetal programming. The range of work that we have done is (to be immodest) awesome and a lot of the early pioneering work we did is already gathering dust and is long overdue for an airing.
The Perinatal Biology lecture will focus on some of our more recent work and will discuss the gatekeeper project and our DNA methylation studies.
It should be fun (though tiring- 24 hours flying time for 3 days there). If you’re passing, drop in.