Thorhallur Ingi Halldorsson

Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Iceland

 

Thorhallur Ingi Halldorsson is a professor at the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Iceland. He also has an external position as senior scientist at the Division of Health Surveillance and Research, Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. He is a member of the EFSAs Scientific Committee and has since 2015 worked in several EFSAs and WHO working groups on nutrition and food safety. His research has to a large degree focused on the role of early life nutrition and exposures to food borne contaminants as determinants of later offspring health. His research has also focused on the developing dietary assessment methods for use in epidemiological studies.

 

Danish and Norwegian birth cohorts: Diet in pregnancy – effects on the offspring health

The Danish National Birth Cohort (1996-2002) and the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (1999–2008) are two longitudinal birth cohorts with over 100.000 pregnancies recruited each. Since recruitment these cohorts have collaborated extensively. To date over 200 papers from both cohorts focusing on the role of maternal nutrition on mother offspring health have been published. While initial studies mostly focused on obstetric outcomes, later follow-up allowed for inclusion of various developmental outcomes, including cognition, asthma and allergies and overweight/obesity. For rare outcomes such as type 1 diabetes and childhood cancer both cohorts have collaborated in terms of preparing or performing coordinated analyses. Overall the result from published studies strongly suggest that maternal diet during pregnancy is a relevant determinant of several pregnancy complications, fetal growth and later offspring health. In this presentation a short overview of main achievements, methodological challenges and future perspectives will be given.