ISGlobal | Barcelona Institute for GlobalHealth

Child Health

Child Health


The ISGlobal Programme on Child Health focuses on evaluating the effects of environmental pollutants on children’s health, particularly following exposure during the intra utero and postnatal periods. Child health is considered a priority at the international level.

The main exposures analysed are:

  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution and chlorinated sub products
  • Persistent organic pollutants such as PCBs, DDE, hexachlorobenzene, and perfluorinated compounds.
  • Heavy metals such as mercury
  • Endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A and phthalates
  • Indoor pollution
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Nutrition

The child health programme has as main objective to evaluate the role of these exposures in intrauterine and postnatal development including:

  • The maturation of the neurobehavioral system of children
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Respiratory health
  • Puberty

Within the Child Health programme there is a strong focus on longitudinal birth cohort research. The INMA Project (INMA - Infancia y Medio Ambiente,, a Spanish network of birth cohorts, is a productive structured platform for etiological research on child health, growth and development. ISGlobal is also instrumental in the building of a network of birth cohorts in Europe as part of three European projects (ENRIECOCHICOS, and LYFECYCLE), resulting in a framework for data sharing and harmonization across more than 30 European birth cohorts. Further, ISGlobal is a world-leader in neurodevelopment studies with special interest in the study of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders and autism spectrum disorders. The ERC advanced grant BREATHE, granted to Jordi Sunyer, aims to uncover the air pollution effects on ADHD and neurodevelopment, incorporating genetic and neuroimaging information. Recently, the Child Health programme has initiated work on the Exposome through the HELIX (Human Early Life Exposome) EC FP7 project (Martine Vrijheid) aiming to move towards a more holistic approach to studying co-existing exposures and their joint effects on child health.

Many other nationally and EC funded projects are related with the child health program, including GERONIMO on electromagnetic fields, HBM4EU on human biomonitoring, EUTHYROID on thyroid function, APACHE and ESCAPE on air pollution, MEDALL on allergy and asthma, HiWATE on water contamination, PHENOTYPE on the built environment, and HiTEA on indoor air pollution.

Other projects

Childhood Obesity

HI-WATE-Health impacts of long-term exposure to disinfection by-products in drinking water



NEWGENERIS-Development and application of biomarkers of dietary exposure to genotoxic and immunotoxic chemicals and of biomarkers of early effects, using mother-child birth cohorts and biobanks

SMART-SNACK. Walnuts, Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Adolescent Brain Development: A Dietary Intervention

AIRGENE-Environment interaction on atention deficit an hyperactivity disorders and autism spectrum disorder in general population birth cohorts

GERoNIMO-Generalized EMF research using novel methods. An integrated approach: from research to risk assessment and support to risk management

ProCardio (Cardiovascular Risk from Exposure to Low-dose and Low-dose-rate Ionizing Radiation)

EUROCAT-Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies in Europe

Characterization of child health and cancer risks associated with dietary intakes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

EPI-CT Epidemiological study to quantify risks for paediatric computerized tomography and to optimise doses

Mother-child study in Crete- The RHEA study

Born in Bradford

La nutrición en el embarazo y las primeras etapas de la vida en relación con la obesidad y marcadores metabólicos en niños pre-puberales: un estudio de la Unión Europea (UE) y España.

Papel de las exposiciones ambientales pre- y postnatal en la salud del adolescentes-seguimiento de la Cohorte de Ribera del del Ebro

INMA-AP-LUNG: Efectos de la exposición prenatal y postnatal a la contaminación atmosférica urbana en la función pulmonar y el neurodesarrollo

EARNEST-Early Nutrition Programming-Long Term Efficacy and Safety Trials Integrated Epidemiological

ENRIECO-Environmental Health Risks in European Birth Cohorts

MOBI-KIDS-Risk of brain cancer from exposure to radiofrequency fields in childhood and adolescence

Radiofrequency ElectroMagnetic fields exposure and BRAiN DevelopmenT from exposure assessment to dose-response assessment (REMBRANDT)

Towards the elimination of iodine deficiency and preventable thyroid-related diseases in Europe (EUthyroid)

Past projects