Maternal nutrition and child development

Maternal iodine intake in pregnancy and executive function of children at 6 years of age

Work with researchers in both the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and Robinson Research Institute to explore the association between maternal iodine intake during pregnancy and subsequent learning difficulties in early school age children.

Iodine is an essential nutrient that is critical for normal growth and development. Iodine deficiency can lead to impair growth and neurodevelopment. 

Severe iodine deficiency in pregnancy can lead to irreversible brain damage in the offspring. In a prospective cohort study (the PINK study) investigating the association between maternal iodine intake in pregnancy and the neurodevelopmental outcome of children, we showed that either low or high maternal iodine intake in pregnancy was associated with a poorer developmental outcome of children at 18 months of age.

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    Image by Steve Riot, Pixabay

    The aim of this current project is to assess the association between maternal iodine intake in pregnancy and executive function of children at early school age. Results from this project will provide evidence to re-evaluate the current recommendation for iodine intake in pregnancy for optimal growth and development of offspring.

    In summary, this project will ideally suit an enthusiastic student who is interested in learning more about early life nutrition, in particular, nutrition and complementary feeding.

    Key skills obtained

    • Dietary assessment methodology 
    • Assessment of executive function 
    • Data collection, management and Statistical analysis 
    • Project management 
    • Scientific writing and critical review of literature
    Tagged in Honours projects - Food and Nutrition Science, Honours projects - Jo Zhou