Acomprehensive five-year study in Alberta is looking at the connections between mothers’ nutrition and mental health during pregnancy
and their young children’s development, nutrition
and overall health.
“Studies have looked at prenatal and early child-
hood nutrition before,” says Alberta Pregnancy
Outcomes and Nutrition (APrON) study researcher
and psychologist Dr. Deb Dewey, “but not at several
points during pregnancy , and not in relation to moth-
Dewey says APrON will search for links between
nutrition and a number of health, behavioural
and developmental concerns, such as baby blues
and depression (in moms) and crying, fussiness
and emotional regulation (in children). It will also
examine cognitive and motor abilities, behavioural
problems and mental health in 1,500 children just
after they turn three.
In the study, participants are asked about their
own and their family’s medical history (
including mental health) and their diets. During clinic
visits in either Calgary or Edmonton, moms’ blood
and urine are collected; their body measurements
are also taken four times. In addition, parents
Searching for links to nutrition,
mental health, moms and babies
are asked to complete questionnaires on their
children’s feeding habits, general development,
temperament and behaviour.
Dewey and her research team are looking for
2,800 participants, including fathers, and hope to
have 4,000 participants in all in the study.
“This is a longitudinal study and aims to follow
young children as they grow and develop,” says
Dewey. “The information we collect could allow us
to see how our diets affect our genetics.”
She adds the study will “provide a very signifi-
cant foundation of information about the precur-
sors and very earliest stages of fetal, childhood and
even adulthood health.”
Sixteen researchers are working on APrON, three
from the Netherlands and 13 based in Alberta. Fund-
ed by Alberta Innovates—Health Solutions, APrON
is a joint project of the University of Calgary, Alberta
Children’s Hospital Research Insitute for Child and
Maternal Health, the Women’s and Children’s Health
Research Institute in Edmonton, the Alberta Chil-
dren’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta Health Services
and the University of Alberta.
Reported by TERRY BuLLiCK
For more information about joining the AProN study, visit applemag.ca.
Sarah Konkel holds her baby, Elijah Yoageeswaran.
AProN will search
for links between
nutrition and a
number of health,