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APrON (Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition) is a study involving thousands of women from Calgary and Edmonton, designed to analyze the relationship between maternal nutrient status during pregnancy and a) maternal mental health and b) child health and development.
APrON has been approved by the Health Research Ethics Board of the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta and the Information Privacy Office of Alberta Health Services. Participants’ information will be confidential, and will be available only to the study team.
APrON was developed by a team of expert researchers and clinicians from many disciplines including nutrition, psychology and psychiatry, family medicine, child development, neonatology (health of newborn infants), genetics, epidemiology (health of large populations) and biostatistics.
Many studies have found that individual nutrients affect the mental health of women and also child development. Few studies, however, have yet looked at broad nutrient intake and nutrient status.
Pregnant women, biological fathers and infants can participate if they are recruited from the Calgary and Edmonton areas, if women are less than 27 weeks pregnant and age 16 or older at the time of enrolling, and if they are fluent in spoken and written English.
APrON was designed to assess the role of the father in terms of the health and development of children, an area which has been neglected in the past.
The majority of the research done in Calgary will be done at the APrON Calgary Centre located at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in the Behavioural Research Unit (4th floor). In Edmonton, the main location will be at the Human Nutrition Research Unit, Room 3-11 at the Agriculture and Forestry Centre in the University of Alberta.
We estimate the total time over 5 years will be about 30-35 hours, but much of it can be done at home.
We hope our participants will volunteer because they are interested in healthy child development. In Canada, health research ethics boards do not permit studies to pay participants, but we do provide compensation for study-related parking and travel expenses. Participants will also be given summaries of the study results, and from time to time will receive other tokens of our appreciation.
We expect that families will be followed at least until Febuary 2013. Our vision is to follow the children of APrON until they might have their own babies one day in the future!
The results will be presented to health professionals, key community stake holders, industry leaders, educators, academics, and members of the public through many different means. Examples of potential applications of the study results might be:
- providing information to prenatal vitamin producers or informing formula and baby food producers for product design
- providing information to community groups to inform the most desired contents of pregnancy-based food banks
- informing Canada’s Food Guidelines for Pregnant Women
- educating school boards and daycares about optimal infant feeding and education practices
- determining how risk factors for certain diseases may be heightened via genetics and nutrients