Lifeways: Research

Key findings

We are running this study to see how Irish children grow and develop. Many things affect the way children grow, including environment and lifestyle as well as healthcare experience and this study will help us to understand all of these factors better. Family doctors, with the consent of the study participants, are also helping us to collect information.

So far, the study has given us some good findings,for example, we have learned some interesting and important things about diet patterns in mothers and children.  Thanks to the participating families, we are able to compare the influence of father’s and mother’s side of the family on development from the earliest stage of pregnancy into childhood.

Occupational factors associated with your baby’s birth weight outcomes.

We looked at various aspects of the expecting mother’s working conditions, and compared these with the weight of her baby on delivery and also whether the baby was delivered early or not.

Longer working hours and shift work tended to be associated with lighter birth weights. These findings suggest that pregnancy outcomes might be improved by changing some work conditions of pregnant women.

Asthma at age 3yrs is associated with the mother’s diet in pregnancy.

We found that plenty of fruit, vegetables and oily fish intake in pregnant women were associated with a lower rate of wheeziness in their children at age 3.

Factors influencing immunisation rates

Many social factors influence immunisation rates. Interestingly, boys are less likely to have had their MMR vaccine.

Also, children who live in the West of Ireland seem to have lower rates of immunisation compared to those living in the East.

Education is important

Mothers whose parents left school early reported poorer health in pregnancy.

What are the factors that influence visiting the GP when children are young?

On average, families made 6 visits to the GP by the time their child is 3. Children of parents with full general medical services eligibility tend to visit their GP more often, and some have higher rates of asthma.