Amsterdam Born Children and their Development


The ABCD study aims to investigate and determine risk factors in early life (during pregnancy and infancy) that might explain later health and development of the child. Although ethnicity is known to be an important determinant of differences in health and development in children, it remains unclear by which mechanisms these differences are mediated. For this reason, the ABCD study is designed to examine and explain health inequalities in children from different ethnic groups. For an outline of the main research areas within the ABCD study follow this link. In the next paragraphs you will find a short overview of results that were published in international peer reviewed scientific journals. A complete list of publications can be found here.


An important area of research within the ABCD project focuses on ‘nutrition’. This term encompasses primarily the maternal nutritional status in pregnancy, i.e. her blood levels of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Nutrition and birth outcomes
Our research shows that low folic acid intake, low vitamin D levels and an unfavourable fatty acid profile (relatively high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and low levels of omega-3 fatty acids) increase the risk of delivering an infant with a low birth weight. Non-Dutch ethnic women more often show an adverse nutrient status: a more unfavourable fatty acid profile, lower vitamin D status en lower folic acid intake. These differences explain ethnic differences in birth outcomes to a small extent.

Nutrition and infant health
Examining maternal nutritional status in pregnancy in relation to offspring health in infancy, provides insight in the potential long-term effects. A low maternal vitamin D status was associated with acceler