Skip to main content

Adolescent education: an opportunity to create a Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) circuit breaker

  • J. L. Bay (a1) (a2) and M. H. Vickers (a1) (a2)

Health before conception, and periconceptional nutritional environments, contribute to conditioning of later-life health and disease. Health behaviors developed during adolescence continue into adulthood. Thus, even when the gap between pregnancy and adolescence is substantial, behaviors developed during adolescence influence later-life non-communicable disease (NCD) vulnerability in offspring. Consequently, adolescence is an important life phase where development of positive health behaviors can contribute to disruption of transgenerational cycles of NCD risk. Schooling is a core activity during adolescence. Modern curricula focus on development of capabilities associated with critical, engaged citizenship, empowering learning that supports action-based engagement in complex issues. Contexts relevant to adolescents and their communities, such as the NCD epidemic, are used to facilitate learning. Thus, engaging the education sector as participants in the work of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease community offers an important strategy to capture the potential of adolescence as a life stage for transgenerational primary prevention of obesity and NCD risk.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: J. L. Bay, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, 1142 Auckland, New Zealand. (Email
Hide All
1. Newnham, JP, Ross, MG. Early Life Origins of Human Health and Disease. 2009. S. Karger Publishing: Basel.
2. Chestnov, O, Hilten, MV, McIff, C, Kulikov, A. Rallying United Nations organizations in the fight against noncommunicable diseases. Bull World Health Organ. 2013; 91, 623623A.
3. Todd, AS, Street, SJ, Ziviani, J, Byrne, NM, Hills, AP. Overweight and obese adolescent girls: the importance of promoting sensible eating and activity behaviors from the start of the adolescent period. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015; 12, 23062329.
4. Craigie, AM, Lake, AA, Kelly, SA, Adamson, AJ, Mathers, JC. Tracking of obesity-related behaviours from childhood to adulthood: a systematic review. Maturitas. 2011; 70, 266284.
5. Steinberg, L. Cognitive and affective development in adolescence. Trends Cogn Sci. 2005; 9, 6974.
6. International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. The Cape Town Manifesto: a healthy start builds a bright future, 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2016 from
7. Bay, JL, Mora, HA, Sloboda, DM, et al. Adolescent understanding of DOHaD concepts: a school-based intervention to support knowledge translation and behaviour change. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2012; 3, 469482.
8. Grace, M, Woods-Townsend, K, Griffiths, J, et al. Developing teenagers’ views on their health and the health of their future children. Health Educ. 2012; 112, 543559.
9. Bay, JL, Vickers, MH, Morton, SM. Ensuring empowerment of women and girls is at the center of DOHaD translation programs. J Dev Orig Health Dis . 2015; 6(S2), S76.
10. Bay, JL, Yaqona, D., Tairea, K, et al. The healthy start to life education for adolescents project: indicators of early success in adaptation for use in Small Island Developing States. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2015; 6(S2), S77.
11. Bay, JL, Vickers, MH, Sloboda, DM, Mora, HA. Multi-dimensional connections: the Liggins Education Network for Science. In Bringing Communities Together: Connecting Learners with Scientists or Technologists (eds. France B, Compton V), 2012; pp. 161174. Sense Publishers: Rotterdam.
12. Perkins, D. Future Wise: Educating our Children for a Changing World. 2014. John Wiley & Sons: San Francisco.
13. Bruun Jensen, B. Health knowledge and health education in the democratic health-promoting school. Health Educ. 2000; 100, 146154.
14. Hipkins, R, Bolstad, R, Boyd, S, McDowall, S. Key Competencies for the Future. 2014. NZCER Press: New Zealand.
15. Weinbaum, A, Allen, D., Blythe, T., et al. Teaching as Inquiry: Asking Hard Questions to Improve Practice and Student Achievement. 2004. Teachers College Press: New York.
16. Mezirow, J. Transformative learning as discourse. J Transformative Educ. 2003; 1, 5863.
17. Bolstad, R, Bull, A. Strengthening Engagements Between Schools and the Science Community: Final Report. 2013. NZCER Press: New Zealand.
18. Bay, JL, Mora, HA. Essentials of Type 2 Diabetes: An Issue for My Community. Exploration of a Socio-Scientific Issue – Teacher Resource. 2014. University of Auckland: Auckland.
19. Bay, JL, Yaqona, D. Ko au e toku aorangi: kai no te oraanga meitaki (Me, Myself, My Environment: Nutrition) – Student Book (Cook Islands Edition. (2016). Read Pacific Publishers Ltd: Auckland.
20. Gillman, MW, Ludwig, DS. How early should obesity prevention start? New Engl J Med. 2013; 369, 21732175.
21. Gluckman, PD, Hanson, M, Zimmet, P, Forrester, T. Losing the war against obesity: the need for a developmental perspective. Sci Transl Med. 2011; 3, 19.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
  • ISSN: 2040-1744
  • EISSN: 2040-1752
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-developmental-origins-of-health-and-disease
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 71 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 408 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.