, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 339-343
Date: 07 Dec 2013

Improving Maternal and Child Health Across the Life Course: Where Do We Go from Here?

In 2003 when Dr. Halfon and I published a commentary in this journal calling for a reconceptualization of racial–ethnic disparities in birth outcomes from a life-course perspective [1], few people in maternal and child health (MCH) were talking about life course. While certainly not new, it was hailed in an accompanying editorial as “a start in a new paradigm” in MCH [2].
The past decade has witnessed major advancements in the development of the life course theory and its application to MCH research, practice, and policy. In this issue, Halfon et al. [3] summarized new advances in the theory of life course health development (“LCHD 2.0”), while other articles provide a sample of the many innovative applications in our field. There are now websites, toolboxes, resource guides, and a research network devoted to MCH life course, and the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration is now using the life course theory as a strategic plan...