The Women’s and Children’s Hospital will help guide the nation in improving the nutrition of mothers and babies, with the launch of a new national Centre of Research Excellence. The National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Targeted Nutrition to Improve Maternal and Child Health Outcomes will be officially welcomed to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) on Wednesday 11 April 2018.
The CRE is an important partnership between the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the University of Adelaide, SA Health and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Professor Maria Makrides, one of the CRE’s Chief Investigators, said good nutrition is a foundation stone of a healthy life. “Poor nutrition has been linked to low birth weight, a greater risk of preterm birth as well as allergies and behaviour issues later in life,” Professor Makrides said.
“That’s why good nutrition is especially important in pregnancy, when both mum and baby are vulnerable. “We’ve already made great progress in this area for example we’ve made important strides in how we treat gestational diabetes through diet.
“In addition by encouraging mums to take folate supplements during pregnancy we’ve seen a 30 per cent decrease in babies born with neural tube defects but there’s still a lot more work to be done,” Professor Makrides said.
The CRE will focus on four distinct areas; increasing the awareness of how healthy eating improves birthing outcomes, investigating the role of dietary fats in preventing premature births, improving nutritional health of preterm infants and trialling unique nutrition testing tools.
Dr Andrew McPhee, the State Director of Neonatal Services and a fellow Chief Investigator, said the centre’s research will impact on generations to come.
“We’re very lucky in Adelaide to be able to bring together researchers across multiple institutions to improve the health and wellbeing of our youngest Australians,” Dr McPhee said.
The launch will take place at the Queen Victoria Lecture Theatre at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.