The first 1000 days: Why they matter and what they mean for allied health professionals

Dr Tim Moore, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

The first 1000 days – the period from conception to the end of the child’s second year – is the period of greatest developmental plasticity, and what happens during this time can have life-long consequences for health and wellbeing. This presentation summarises the biological processes and environmental characteristics that shape development during the first 1000 days, and what impact these have over the life span. While the importance of the early years is now widely acknowledged, research in this area is rapidly advancing, and our understanding of the specific mechanisms that impact upon development is becoming more and more detailed and nuanced. This research has revealed whole aspects of biological functioning that were not previously recognised as playing a role in development. These include epigenetics, telomere effects, the role of the microbiome, and how all of these effects can be transmitted across generations. We have also learned about the broad environmental forces that shape these biological changes, including the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis, social climate change, the mismatch hypothesis, and the social determinants of health and disease. This presentation describes what immediate experiences and exposures have this effect – including parenting experiences and family environments, physical environments and environmental toxins, nutrition, adverse experiences and stress, and poverty. The long-term impact of early experiences and exposures are described and implications for allied health professionals explored.


Biography:

Dr Tim Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Tim trained as a teacher and psychologist at the University of Melbourne, subsequently completing his Doctoral studies at the University of Surrey on self esteem and self-concept in children. He has worked as an educational and developmental psychologist for over 30 years, both in Australia and England.

Tim has taken a leading role nationally in the development of policy and training in the early childhood intervention field.  He has been based at CCCH since 2000 where he heads a small team with responsibility for monitoring, reviewing and synthesising research literature on a wide range of topics relating to child development, family functioning and service systems.

A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, Dr Moore has been lead writer on many of CCCH’s reports, conference papers and policy briefs and also develops training and resource packages for early childhood and family support services. He has also taken a leading role nationally in the development of policy and training in the early childhood intervention field. His work has had a significant impact on practice and policy in the early childhood intervention and early childhood fields both nationally and internationally.

NAHC Conferences

2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

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