2018 Annual Meeting
Applying Epidemiology Across the Lifespan to Improve Health Care, Inform Health Policy and Enhance Population Health
Life course epidemiology has been defined as “the study of long term effects on later health or disease risk of physical or social exposures during gestation, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and later adult life.” This broad theoretical framework encompasses the well-known ‘fetal origins of adult disease’ hypothesis, but also recognizes that exposures, periods of susceptibility and modifiable causal pathways along the lifespan offer opportunities for effective interventions in the community (to remove or mitigate exposures) and in the health care system (to improve treatment effectiveness and prevent downstream adverse health outcomes). This work requires a large concerted effort that must connect epidemiologic research with the basic sciences and with clinical and translational research. The deployment of strategies that will result in better population health also needs to be supported by policies that influence how we manage the environment, how we provide health care and how we promote healthy consumer behavior and provide market incentives for positive change. The goal of this ACE meeting is to highlight priority areas across the lifespan where epidemiology can advance population health using translational approaches and discuss experiences that can serve as models for intervention.