Where Social Determinants meet Developmental Origins

About this series

The Moore Institute is exploring the intersection between the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) and the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), through a series of articles, research briefs and blog posts. Each quarter we dig into some of the social, economic or environmental factors that affect our ability to be healthy. We will be reporting on how specific factors in our environments can cause biologic changes that affect chronic disease risk, and how those changes can be passed from one generation to the next.


graphic depicting the social determinants of health
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Understanding the roots of chronic disease

The work of the Moore Institute is centered on the field of research known as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). This research shows how the seeds of chronic disease are planted even before a child is born, and how chronic disease risk is determined by the nutritional, social and environmental conditions in which a child is conceived, develops and grows. Learn more

The social determinants of health include factors like housing, income, education, social networks, and access to nutritious food. Up to 80% of health outcomes can be attributed to the SDOH. Learn more

DOHaD research gets at the very heart of why these social and environmental conditions have so much influence on our health. It explains how the biology that helps humans adapt and thrive in our environments, works against us when confronted with the stressors of poverty, adversity and injustice.

Adversity affects us biologically and developmentally. This article explains how: Making the Connection: How social inequality causes biological harm


Quick Definitions

Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD): The body of scientific research that explains how poor nutrition and toxic stressors in utero, and during early life, increase risk for chronic disease in adulthood.  

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH): The conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, gather and age. These conditions directly affect the health and quality of life of people and communities.

Health Disparities: When one group of people have more illness, injury, disability or death, as compared to other groups of people. Health disparities are closely linked with social, economic and environmental adversity.