As Chairman of the Early Life Nutrition Network, and on behalf of the Network Steering Committee, I would like to welcome you to the Network. The Network is intended to unite healthcare professionals, scientific experts and other relevant stakeholders in the area of early life nutrition, providing a global forum for sharing advice about nutrition in early life. It represents an opportunity to achieve behaviour change by learning from each other.

In recent years, a wealth of knowledge on the subject of healthy eating in early life has accumulated in the scientific community, but the radical changes we expected based on this evidence have not come to pass. A real imbalance exists between cutting edge scientific thinking and public behaviour today. As you read this, parents across the world are making nutrition-related choices based on advertising and misinformation, rather than on information from trustworthy sources.

The aim of altering these choices globally may feel ambitious, but we can take steps to reach it. The methods for enacting change exist within the behavioural sciences, and are used effectively in certain domains, such as marketing. By arming ourselves with techniques to fight misinformation and communicating the important messages better, we may be able to turn the evidence we have into action on the ground.

The Early Life Nutrition Network is not an ordinary scientific or medical forum: it is not about showcasing academic success, but instead exists as a private community for collaboration. We are aiming to achieve real, meaningful behaviour change, but to do this we need to identify how this goal can be accomplished, and implement strategies. That is where you come in. By sharing information and initiatives, both successful and unsuccessful, we can both teach and learn from each other. To facilitate this discussion, the Network will initially centre around five core topics which encapsulate the trajectories, both normal and compromised, of nutrition in early life:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Complementary feeding and toddler nutrition
  • The premature infant
  • The allergic child

 Within these areas I encourage you to share your valuable experiences to promote productive action.

I hope you will join me on this exciting journey. You have taken the first step by joining the Network, but don’t let your involvement stop here. I urge you to take part in the global discussion.

Professor Maurice Biriotti

Chairman of the Early Life Nutrition Network