Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR)


Lund University
Université de Montréal
Fudan University
University of Mannheim
University of Utah

IUSSP Secretariat

International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP)

Council Liaison

University of Essex

There is increasing interest in the role of conditions experienced in utero or in infancy on adult health and mortality. Yet, mediating, modifying and buffering factors, such as adult height, socioeconomic status, and medical interventions, have received considerably less attention. In particular, little is known about whether negative insults early in life affect adult health directly through damage of cells and organs, or indirectly, through the ability to accumulate human capital.


Understanding of the full mechanism, however, is critical for the planning of interventions. The aim of the Pathways to Health IUSSP Panel is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers to analyze the physiological and socioeconomic factors that mediate and modify the impact of early life conditions on later life health, and to analyze what interventions at what stages of life could be most efficient to buffer the effects. Expanding knowledge on these topics has potential to identify novel pathogenic processes and promising points of intervention. The panel includes researchers from demography, public health, economics, biology, and other disciplines. The panel aims to meet in 3-4 seminars within a four year period and publish the results in Springer's book series and in special issues of international peer-reviewed journals. Combining expertise at a global scale, the Pathways to Health seminars will lead to a greater understanding of how the chances for a healthy and long life build themselves up over the life course from the earliest days.

Programme of activities

International Seminar on Causal Mediation Analysis in Health and Work

Rostock, Germany, 26-29 September 2016


International Seminar on Early-life Determinants of Late-life Employment, Ill Health and Early Death
Lund, Sweden, 20-21 October 2014

International Seminar on Pathways to Health: How intermediary life conditions mediate or modify early life effects
Berkeley, CA (USA), 1-2 May 2012