Early life and adolescence

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The Early Life and Adolescence Cluster looks to improve the health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families through undertaking and promoting public health research of the highest quality, in a variety of settings, and to seek to translate findings into policy and practice wherever possible.

We aim to draw together and support collaborations between researchers, policy makers and practitioners  with interests in sustaining or improving the health and wellbeing of these groups. We explore how to provide a ‘healthy start’ through critical periods of development, from pre-conception, pregnancy, infancy, preschool and school years, adolescence and the transition to independence and adulthood. Our members have academic and practice expertise in a range of public health topics relevant to these life stages including obesity, smoking, alcohol, immunisations, mental and emotional wellbeing and sexual health.

The cluster objectives are to conduct, develop, evaluate and translate research to:

  • Promote a healthy start in life by focusing on determinants affecting a healthy pregnancy, infancy, childhood and adolescence
  • Promote healthy emotional and mental wellbeing among children, adolescents and young people
  • Reduce risk taking behaviour among young people that adversely affect their wellbeing
  • Inform and influence policy and practice on the linkages between child health and social/ structural inequalities through acting on social determinants of child health
  • Promote the inclusion of children’s and families’ voice in the planning, implementation and evaluation of related national and local policies

To achieve this we seek to build effective and lasting partnerships with policy and practice partners for collaborative co-production of public health research in these critical life stages, and to foster career development for early career researchers and post graduate researchers in this field.

The cluster links with work within the Fuse Behaviour change and Health inequalities research clusters, and the Children, Young People and Families theme in the NIHR School for Public Health Research.


Dr Nicola Heslehurst, Cluster Lead, Newcastle University
Email: nicola.heslehurst@ncl.ac.uk

Dr Ruth McGovern - Cluster Lead, Newcastle University
Email: r.mcgovern@ncl.ac.uk

Dr Naomi Griffin - Cluster Deputy Lead, Newcastle University
Email: naomi.griffin@newcastle.ac.uk

Fuse Early Life & Adolescence Research Cluster Strategy PDF 156Kb

Fuse Early Life & Adolescence Research Cluster strategy

How do socioeconomic inequalities affect health in pregnancy?

This review set out to understand the extent that an individual’s socioeconomic status (often measured as education, income or occupation) relates to problems in pregnancy, across the UK and Ireland.

Last modified: Wed, 05 Oct 2022 12:37:53 BST

Young mothers and infant feeding decisions

Research focused on the infant feeding experiences of young mothers living in areas of high socio-economic deprivation who are among the least likely groups to breastfeed.

Last modified: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 10:42:02 GMT

Evaluating the Best Start in Life Alliance

How Fuse helped one of its local authority partners to apply for national funding from the School for Public Health Research.

Last modified: Fri, 08 Apr 2022 14:01:59 BST

SAFE SPACE: supporting families affected by substance use

Developing a research collaboration to address complex public health problems.

Last modified: Fri, 08 Apr 2022 14:02:12 BST

Developing careers in public health research through Fuse

Cassey Muir

NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) Doctoral Student, Cassey Muir tells us about how Fuse has helped develop her career in public health.

Last modified: Fri, 08 Apr 2022 14:02:40 BST