The Foundation held a conference on 21 May 2013 at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, to launch its Task Force report on 'Nutrition and development: short- and long-term consequences for health'. The conference was accredited by the Royal College of Midwives and the Association for Nutrition. The Task Force was chaired by Professor Tom Sanders, King’s College, London and included a number of experts from around the UK.

Task Force Chair:

Prof Tom Sanders, Kings College, London

Task Force Members:

Prof Judy Buttriss, British Nutrition Foundation

Prof Graham Devereux, University of Aberdeen

Prof Paul Haggarty, The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

Dr Nick Harvey, MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre

Dr Alison Lennox, MRC Human Nutrition Research

Dr Anne MacCartney, University of Reading

Prof Harry McArdle, The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

Prof Julian Mercer, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

Dr Susan Ozanne, University of Cambridge

Prof Lucilla Poston, Kings College London

Prof Marcus Richard, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing

Dr Sian Robinson, MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre

Prof Richard Sharpe, MRC Human Reproductive Sciences Unit

Dr Paul Taylor, St Thomas' Hospital

The report looks in detail at the vulnerable periods during early life where impaired growth or development may lead to chronic disease in later life.

It describes the key issues relating to the critical windows of early life development with particular focus on the development of the gut and nervous system, and the perinatal effects of sex hormones in the programming of disease in later life.  The report also examines the effects of early life diet and nutrition on chronic disease later in life.  The areas examined include: obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, bone health, allergic disease and asthma, and cognitive function.

Each chapter includes a summary of the key points, as well as important recommendations to help identify long-term strategies for early life nutrition.  An overview of the main messages of the report are also provided in a practical question and answer format suitable for lay readers.

More information on how to purchase the Task Force report is available on the Wiley website

To view the chapter “Nutrition and Development: Answers to Common Questions” from the new Task Force report, see below.


Chair: Prof. Tom Sanders, Kings College London

  • Welcome and introduction to the new Task Force - Prof Tom Sanders, Kings College London
  • Introduction to early life and later disease - Dr Siân Robinson, University of Southampton
  • Normal growth and critical windows of development - Prof Harry McArdle, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
  • Establishing a healthy gut flora in early life - Dr Anne McCartney, University of Reading
  • Perinatal effects of sex hormones in programming of susceptibility to disease - Prof Richard Sharpe, University of Edinburgh
  • Early nutrition, mental development and mental ageing - Prof Marcus Richards, University College London
  • Asthma and allergic disease: influence of early nutrition - Prof Graham Devereux, University of Aberdeen
  • Early life nutrition and risk of cardiovascular disease in later life - Prof Tom Sanders, Kings College London
  • Influence of nutrition in early life and risk of obesity - Dr Paul Taylor, Kings College London
  • Public health implications: conclusions and recommendations of the Task Force - Prof Judy Buttriss, The British Nutrition Foundation
  • Panel discussion

Live presentation broadcast

The presentation by Dr Paul Taylor on the influence of nutrition in early life and risk of obesity was live-streamed online. A recording of the eSeminar can be viewed below.


Presentations from the conference can be found below as well as 10 Key Facts from the conference.