The challenge and opportunity


Naming the problem

We are in the middle of a quiet crisis. One in 10 Americans has diabetes. One in three Americans has prediabetes—and 90% don’t even know. No other disease is as prevalent in our country or poses as severe an impact on quality of life for our communities. This is why we are dedicated to be at the forefront for changing how communities think about and, ultimately, reduce their risks of adiposity and diabetes.  ​​

 

Addressing the issue, from start to end of life

To solve a problem as large and complex as diabetes, we knew we needed to think comprehensively about solutions. We’ve designed our approach to address the entire spectrum of the problem. Research at the LEAD Center integrates three critical approaches—the lifecourse, epidemiology, and team science.

Why the lifecourse


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As we grow and develop, from the womb to old age, multiple exposures happen to us—and these exposures—nutritional, environmental, physical, infectious, and many others—cause us to respond in ways that are just beginning to be understood. It is crucial to integrate these multiple exposures, as well as the specific periods when they occur (called “critical periods”) to understand how to reduce or prevent their undesirable long-term outcomes such as adiposity (obesity), diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, among many diseases. This integration over time and critical periods is the “lifecourse” approach to health and disease. 

Not only is a lifecourse approach important during childhood and adulthood, but it appears to be especially important during pregnancy for the baby’s development, when multiple control systems in the offspring may be ‘programmed’ about how to respond to exposures both during the pre-natal period as well as later in life.

Our projects by lifestage

Healthy Start

The Healthy Start Study is using on-going data collection from pregnant mothers and their babies—who are now 4-6 year old children. The study uses the data to examine the metabolic and behavioral factors during pregnancy and early life that contribute to the development of obesity and related health problems. 

Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO)

This is a national collaborative project to harmonize 84 separate cohort studies of mothers and children in the United States (including Healthy Start) to increase greatly the ability to detect environmental influences on childhood health outcomes.

Healthy Start

The Healthy Start Study is using on-going data collection from pregnant mothers and their babies—who are now 4-6 year old children. The study uses the data to examine the metabolic and behavioral factors during pregnancy and early life that contribute to the development of obesity and related health problems. 

Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO)

This is a national collaborative project to harmonize 84 separate cohort studies of mothers and children in the United States (including Healthy Start) to increase greatly the ability to detect environmental influences on childhood health outcomes.

Exploring Perinatal Outcomes among Children (EPOCH)

EPOCH is a longitudinal study of adolescents and their long-term health outcomes related to whether they were exposed to mother’s diabetes during pregnancy. While it is known that a mother with diabetes during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes, many other things are not known, including whether infant or childhood feeding changes these outcomes.

SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth

SEARCH is a national multi-center population-based study aimed at understanding the burden of diabetes and its complications among youth and young adults.

Exploring Perinatal Outcomes among Children (EPOCH)

EPOCH is a longitudinal study of adolescents and their long-term health outcomes related to whether they were exposed to mother’s diabetes during pregnancy. While it is known that a mother with diabetes during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes, many other things are not known, including whether infant or childhood feeding changes these outcomes.

SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth

SEARCH is a national multi-center population-based study aimed at understanding the burden of diabetes and its complications among youth and young adults.

Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS)

The DPPOS is the long-term follow-up of the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) trial that showed that lifestyle changes or the drug metformin effectively delay diabetes in overweight or obese American adults. Follow-up now exceeds fifteen years and the participants are being studied for further diabetes, heart disease, as well as aging related changes, and cancer.

Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS)

The DPPOS is the long-term follow-up of the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) trial that showed that lifestyle changes or the drug metformin effectively delay diabetes in overweight or obese American adults. Follow-up now exceeds fifteen years and the participants are being studied for further diabetes, heart disease, as well as aging related changes, and cancer.

Frequently asked questions


What is epidemiology?

Jan 7, 2020, 12:21 PM
Question : What is epidemiology?
Epidemiology is the study health and illness in populations. Thus, while individuals and their offspring are studied, relatively large numbers make up a population. Those who participate represent what happens, for example, to people living in Colorado and who have a set of exposures over time. The goal of epidemiology is to find factors that cause illness that can be changed to reduce or prevent illness, disability and early death.

Studies usually ‘observe’ populations through detailed studies that include asking about exposures, nutrition, physical activity, etc. as well as measuring many factors (for example height, weight, location of fatty tissues, blood samples, genes, markers of diet, levels of fitness). This information allows us to be able to assess the body’s responses to exposures throughout the lifecourse. Epidemiology integrates basic science, genetics, physiology, epigenetics, the microbiome (bacteria in our gut), family and social life, and population level factors such as economics, community safety, and even air pollution to produce as complete a picture as possible of the multiple stresses we encounter over our life. We are very interested in those factors that help make healthy children who are better able to develop into healthy adults over their own lifecourse.
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