TitleLife course epidemiology: recognising the importance of adolescence.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsViner, RM, Ross, D, Hardy, R, Kuh, D, Power, C, Johnson, A, Wellings, K, McCambridge, J, Cole, TJ, Kelly, Y, Batty, GD
JournalJ Epidemiol Community Health
Date Published08/2015
KeywordsAdolescent, Adolescent Behavior, Adolescent Development, Humans, Long Term Adverse Effects, Risk-Taking

Life course epidemiology may be conceptualised as “the study of long term effects on later health or disease risk of physical or social exposures during gestation, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and later adult life.”1 Adolescence, the period between childhood and adulthood defined by the WHO as 10–19 years, has an uneasy status in epidemiology. On the one hand, adolescents, who now number over 1.2 billion worldwide—around 20% of the global population—are highly visible in population-based studies. Young people's behaviours have been an important subject of epidemiological inquiry, from tobacco and alcohol use to violence and sexual activity. Yet, concepts of adolescence as a discrete stage in the life course have been much less discussed within epidemiology. This is particularly so in studies of the developmental origins of adult health and disease, which have focused on the influence on adult health outcomes of exposures from the period of rapid physiological change in very early life. Similarly, investigators in the field of the social determinants of health and disease have concentrated their efforts on the effects of parenting and education in early childhood.

With the aim of developing our understanding of the place of adolescence in a life course framework, in May 2013, we organised a joint workshop between UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Alternate JournalJ Epidemiol Community Health
PubMed ID25646208
PubMed Central IDPMC4515995
Grant ListMC_UU_12019/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
MR/J004839/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
MR/K026992/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
MR/M012069/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom