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Overseas Health Insurance News: First 1,000 days 'most important of life'

Expatriate international medical insurance customers may wish to make sure the first 1,000 days after a newborn arrives provide them with a good start to the rest of their life.

"Everything is pretty much done" regarding the significant aspects of a person's development, aside from "some growth of the brain", professor David Barker from the University of Southampton said.

As "the body is almost complete", it is important that an infant is healthy throughout this period, he explained.

However, merely eating well during pregnancy and feeding the child properly is inadequate, as "the baby lives off the mother's body" rather than the food she consumes.

Therefore, it is important that females intending to conceive have sufficient nutrient intake "in advance of becoming pregnant" rather than from the moment they realise that they are expecting, to ensure the egg is as healthy as possible before fertilisation, the professor noted.

He said it is really an intergenerational story of "100 years of nutritional flow", going back to the grandparent's eating habits, that impacts the first 1,000 days of a baby's life.

The wellbeing of women and girls is therefore of optimum importance in any debate of public health, rather than just smoking and drinking trends, as females are "the provision out of which the next generation is made".

Professor Barker asserted that "100 years ago there wasn't breast cancer", arguing that coronary heart disease and diabetes are similarly "unnecessary diseases".

"Genetics can't explain why coronary heart disease was uncommon 100 years ago and now is the commonest cause of death in the world", he asserted.

However, data from the UK's census revealed the average life expectancy in 1911 was 54 years old for women and 50 for men, whereas this reached 81.9 and 77.7 respectively in 2009.

Furthermore, the American Cancer Society noted people have had cancer in all periods of recorded history, with a document from 3000BC called the Edwin Smith Papyrus detailing eight incurable cases of ulcers or tumours on the breast. 

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