HCR.20.066 – METAHEALTH: Health in a microbial, social and care context in the first 1000 days of life

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 084 What is the best way for us to analyse and prevent the problem of overweight and obesity?

Our microbiome is a major health determinant. It is a personal trait, shaped from birth, by an interplay of genetic, immunological, cultural, socio-economic, behavioral and environmental factors. The first 1000 days of life are recognized as a critical period for microbiome development and for health outcomes later in life. Two diseases – obesity and dental caries – cooccur frequently and are common in children from disadvantaged families.

We aim at disclosing and understanding the interplay between the host and the microbiome in the social and cultural context of the host from pregnancy throughout infancy and childhood, and at modulating this interplay towards improved metabolic and oral health.

We will enrich the developmental data from an ongoing multi-ethnic birth cohort and an ethnographic cohort in Amsterdam with biomedical data on oral and gut microbiome and data on the socio-cultural and environmental context of the study participants. This will allow to establish the relationships between household level health behaviors, how these are influenced by care-providers and how these in turn influence the microbiome development and the metabolic and oral health of children from birth until the age of 3. This multi-level complex approach delivers in-depth insight into the mechanisms underlying this association and possibilities for care interventions for prevention of dental caries and overweight.

The data will be integrated in microbiome-host-environment in-silico models that will be used iteratively for new hypothesis generation, wet-lab experimentation and prediction of most effective interventions. This way the interplay of diet, oral hygiene, microbiome and health outcomes in different socio-cultural contexts will be modelled and validated using follow-up data from the abovementioned cohorts. Selected interventions will be tested on cohort-subgroups. On the basis of these insights we will co-create new interventions with parents and care-professionals.


cohort studies, dental caries, Diet, early childhood, ethnicity, lifestyle, metabolic health, microbiome, Oral Health, overweight, Pregnancy

Other organisations

ACTA, Amsterdam UMC, GGD, UvA, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


Organisation University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA)
Name Prof. dr. E. (Egija) Zaura
E-mail e.zaura@acta.nl
Website https://www.acta.nl/en/research/scientific-staff-alfabetical-order/staff-member-u-z/zaura-e/index.aspx