NIH awards research grants for childhood environmental influences on health
ECHO, which is an initiative that will last for seven years, will evaluate how early development exposure to various environmental factors can affect the health of adolescents and children. These include factors from early childhood to conception.
“Every baby should have the best opportunity to remain healthy and thrive throughout childhood,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said. “ECHO will help us better understand the factors that contribute to optimal health in children.”
Researchers believe that experiences through sensitive development windows -- such as conception, pregnancy, infancy and early childhood -- can affect children’s health with long-term consequences. Such experiences include air pollution, chemical exposure, sleep, diet, stress and more.
“I’m very excited to work with many of our nation’s best scientists to tackle vital unanswered questions about child health and development,” Dr. Matthew Gillman, ECHO program director, said. “I believe we have the right formula of cohorts, clinical trials and supporting resources, including a range of new tools and measures, to help figure out which factors may allow children to achieve the best health outcomes over their lifetimes.”