Journey to discovering support for healthy families in Queensland

Wednesday 03 June 2020

Mater researcher Professor Vicki Clifton and her team want to know how parent’s lifestyle choices impact their children, from preconception, during and after birth.           

The Queensland Family Cohort Study—a collaboration between Mater Research, the University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University—began as a pilot in 2018, to expand a common understanding of the health of a child and their parents at conception and during the first 2000 days of life. The study aims to address disease at its roots and determine how a baby’s health and exposures in early life influences disease development in the future. To achieve this, Professor Clifton’s team have begun to assess the physical and mental health of families and collect biological information from these families at preconception, throughout pregnancy and at birth, at Mater Mother’s Hospital in Brisbane.

The research team hopes that, by deepening our understanding of the health of a child and their parents in the first 2000 days of life, the findings will inform public health approaches to prevent disease and influence Queensland health service planning into the future.

“We want to understand the health of Queensland’s reproductive age population and its impact on the health of their children to help determine future requirement for family health services. Understanding the mechanisms that drive health and disease will allow us to discover new and better ways to support healthy lifestyles in Queensland,” said Professor Clifton.

The study collects samples from expecting families at 24, 28 and 36 weeks of gestation, during their time at hospital and six weeks after birth of their baby.

The study currently boasts over 150 collaborating researchers that comprise 21 research themes and 750, participants, 250 of which signed-up since its conception in 2018. By having study protocols that are accessible, the Queensland Family Cohort study hopes to extend its support to 10 000 families throughout Queensland, for the three-decade long study.

To continue this vital research, Professor Vicki and her team needs your support and participation.

Find out more about Professor Clifton and her team’s work.