From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Diet in Childhood and Risk of Disease in Adulthood

Based on the Boyd Orr cohort (where researchers have a measure of family diet, anthropometric and social data collected during childhood), associations between early diet and chronic disease, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease in later life were examined. A key finding includes a significantly lower risk of incident cancer in adulthood with increased fruit intake in childhood, independent of social factors and energy intake.



Maynard MJ, Blane D. Dietary assessment in early old age: experience from the Boyd Orr Cohort. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009;63:S58-S63



Ness AR, Maynard M, Frankel S, Smith DG, Frobisher C, Leary SD, Emmett PM, Gunnell D. Diet in childhood and adult cardiovascular and all-cause mortality: the Boyd Orr cohort. Heart 2005;91:894-898

pubmed  open access  


Maynard MJ, Gunnell DJ, Emmett P, Frankel S, Davey-Smith G. Fruit, vegetables, and antioxidants in childhood and risk of adult cancer: the Boyd Orr cohort. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2003;58:218-225

pubmed  open access  


Frankel S, Gunnell D J, Peters T, Maynard M, Smith DG. Childhood energy intake and adult mortality from cancer: the Boyd Orr cohort. BMJ 1998;316:499-504


Former Staff


  • Boyd Orr cohort This is an historical cohort based on 1352 mainly working class families living in 16 rural and urban areas of England and Scotland. The families took part in a survey of diet and health in pre-war Britain. The children of the families were traced through the National Health Service. Information from death and cancer registrations were linked to the records of respondents.
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