Paediatric and International Nutrition > About the unit
Paediatric and International Nutrition
- What impact does early nutrition (milk period: 0-6 months and complementary feeding period: 6-18 months) in developing and industrialized countries have on growth, development, infections and risk factors for lifestyle diseases?
- How does children’s intake of milk influence their growth, hormonal status and risk of becoming undernourished or obese in developing countries or industrialized countries respectively?
- How do long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids influence development, growth, immune status and predictors of cardiovascular disease in infants and young children?
- What effects do probiotics and the composition of the intestinal flora have on healthy children and children with diseases?
- Which factors influence bone mineralization in children?
- What are the effects of micronutrient supplementation in children and pregnant women in developing countries?
- How may the content of bioavailable iron and zinc in the diet be increased in developing countries?
- What effects do traditional foods such as small fish and insects have on the quality of complementary feeding in developing countries?
- How much can small quantities of animal source protein increase the nutritional quality of relief foods for children?
The group consists of three Professors, two Associate Professors, two Assistant Professors, ten PhD Students, two staff members with academic background, two Dieticians, two Medical Laboratory Technologists and a Secretary. Dr. Med Sci. Christian Mølgaard, Paediatric Nutrition, leads the group.
The group has established special expertise in performing population-based studies of healthy infants and children. The examinations include food registration, growth, body composition (e.g. DXA scans), and development as well as cardiovascular measures and physical activity. The studies include both randomised intervention and observational studies. Focus is on the age periods with a high growth velocity: the first years of life and puberty. The group also collaborates with other research institutions on large epidemiological studies and with paediatric departments on studies of children with specific diseases.
In the field of international nutrition the group has special expertise in performing studies in developing countries for the purpose of establishing a scientific basis for development programmes that may contribute to alleviating malnutrition. To name a few examples: we have, in collaboration with local partners, examined the effects of diet and micronutrient supplementation on growth and nutrient status in pregnant women and children; and examined the relation between nutritional status and infections (TB, HIV) in populations with poor living conditions.
Within the department, the group collaborates with other groups on research projects, especially in the study of obesity, mineral status and cardiovascular diseases. Within the Centre for Advanced Food Studies, our primary partners are Food Microbiology at the Faculty of Life Sciences and the National Food Institute at DTU. Within the University of Copenhagen we collaborate with the Department of Public Health and Centre for Health Research and Development among others. Furthermore we have collaborative activities with the Paediatric Departments in two of the University Hospitals in Copenhagen: Rigshospitalet and Hvidovre Hospital, and, for epidemiology studies, with the Institute for Preventive Medicine and Statens Serum Institut (SSI). Internationally, we collaborate with research institutions in both western countries and developing countries, e.g. Ethiopia, Kenya and Cambodia. At Jimma University, Ethiopia, we have set up a research centre; 3 Danish PhD students and an assistant professor are posted at the centre. Other partners include international organizations such as the World Health Organzation (WHO), UNICEF, World Food Programme (WFP) and Médecins sans Frontières.