Research Themes

Does nutritional information on restaurant menus play a role in child's food selection and calorie intake? What is the impact of food insecurity on health outcomes, service utilization, and health care costs? How does the diet of a mother during pregnancy impact the health of her child later in life?

Research Themes

Our researchers work tirelessly to answer these and many other essential questions to help improve the lives of children and families around the world. Learn more about our researchers.

Healthy Child Development

Areas of focus within this theme include:

  • Epigenetics, fetal programming, gene expression and regulation in animal models and human cohorts
  • The role of nutrient availability on neonatal development (e.g., longitudinal birth cohort of infants born to women with glucose intolerance during pregnancy)
  • Investigating growth, metabolic, and cognitive developmental outcomes in offspring
  • The effect of breast milk composition and supplements on term/pre-term infant growth and neurodevelopment
  • Neurocognitive development
  • The impact of food intake on regulation and development from birth
  • The impact of early nutritional deprivation in animal models of learning and behaviour
  • Impact of early microbiome development on gut health and chronic disease

Nutrition Interventions in Children’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Areas of focus within this theme include:

  • Randomized controlled clinical trials of promising nutritional interventions, which are relevant and generalizable to primary care settings
  • Testing methods to facilitate uptake of evidence-based interventions into primary care and public health settings
  • Establishing clinical practice guidelines
  • Chronic disease surveillance
  • Reducing health disparities
  • Promoting equity for vulnerable populations
  • Development and evaluation of integrated community- and family-based models of care for high-needs populations

Children’s Food and Nutritional Policy

Areas of focus within this theme include:

  • Integrity of children’s food supply chain (safety, nutrient density, claims on food, nutrition standards, food marketing)
  • Culturally appropriate local crops and food technology
  • Food security in Canada
  • Equity in access
  • Availability to nutritious food

Nutrient Sensing and Personalized Health

Areas of focus within this theme include:

  • Genetic determinants of food metabolism (nutragenomics)
  • Lipid and glucose biomarkers (metabolomics)

Food Behaviour in Children and Families

Areas of focus within this theme include:

  • Family nutritional literacy and awareness, and impacts on child food behaviour
  • Effect of changing physiological and external environment on food intake behaviours during puberty

Global Child Nutrition

Areas of focus within this theme include:

  • Providing leadership on international child nutrition public policy
  • Studies of nutrition during pregnancy, infancy and childhood in international environments

Research into Action

We take a disease prevention approach to our research in childhood nutrition, health and development. Putting our research into practice, with the help of our knowledge translation experts, is our priority.

If you are interested in working with our researchers, please contact:

The Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition
Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto

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