Minister Reilly Launches Growing up in Ireland Report on Maternal Health Behaviours And Child Growth in Infancy
Report shows that the prenatal and early life environment that a child experiences has a profound influence on their health in infancy and subsequent pattern of physical and mental development
Growing Up in Ireland: The National Longitudinal Study of Children has published a major new report on maternal health behaviours and child growth in infancy. The report was launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly TD, at an event in Pearse Street Library, Dublin.
The report draws on data from a cohort of over 11,000 infants and their families to investigate the extent and distribution of three specific health behaviours among mothers in the prenatal and antenatal period: cigarette smoking in pregnancy, alcohol consumption in pregnancy and breastfeeding. The report examines the impact of these health behaviours on the child’s birth weight and subsequent growth and development from birth to 9 months of age.
Key Findings include:
Speaking at today’s event the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly, T.D. said:
‘This report and its findings are a clear reminder that the prenatal period and the early years of a child’s life provide a unique window of opportunity to establish lifelong health and well-being patterns.
We must do what we can to protect children from harmful exposure to smoking in the prenatal and early childhood period and re-establish breastfeeding as the cultural norm in Ireland, thereby making it the natural choice for parents’.
Professor Richard Layte (TCD), author of the report, commented that:
‘Poor child and maternal environment during pregnancy and infancy contributes to early ill health and may have life-long consequences. Research internationally shows that Investment in maternity services and community health services saves money both in the short and long run’.
Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) is a Government funded study following the progress of almost 20,000 children and their families – an infant cohort of 11,134 children participating at nine months, three years and five years of age and a child cohort of 8,568 children interviewed at nine years and 13 years of age. The Study is fully funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, in association with the Department of Social Protection and the Central Statistics Office. The Study is being carried out by a team of independent researchers led by the Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College. Those wishing to find out more about the study can visit the study’s website www.growingup.ie.
The ESRI works towards a national vision of ‘Informed policy for a better Ireland’. This means producing high-quality analysis to provide robust evidence for policymaking, with the goals of research excellence and policy impact.
The ESRI produces research that contributes to understanding economic and social change in the new international context and that informs public policymaking and civil society in Ireland.