Earlybird Study intro

The aim was to help parents and teachers understand the preventable factors in childhood that are responsible for the current epidemics of diabetes and heart disease.

The EarlyBird Study 2000-2012

EarlyBird was a unique 12-year research programme observing the health and lifestyle of a cohort of normal healthy children caught up in the obesity epidemic of the 21st century. The principal aim was to help parents and teachers understand the preventable factors in childhood that are responsible for the current epidemics of diabetes and heart disease. The study also underpins the Accelerator Prevention Trial now underway by providing the natural history of metabolic change in contemporary children and standards against which the impact of the intervention can be assessed.

Without such knowledge, rational attempts at prevention, whether through the environment or through medication, will not be possible. Findings from the study have already helped inform the public and politicians about the early causes of diabetes and heart disease in our children and how they, as individuals, might avoid them. EarlyBird has made a substantial impact through public dissemination – BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Ten O’Clock News, Panorama, Case Notes, Frontiers, Am I Normal?, Time Magazine, The Economist, New Scientist; The Times, Daily Telegraph and Observer on Sunday. The study has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, many in top medical journals such as Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Pediatrics, BMJ, International Journal of Obesity.