Advances in life course health science, systems biology, and epigenetics suggest that health development can be represented as a trajectory affected by multiple risk and protective factors arrayed in a relational developmental ecosystem across child, family, community, and systems levels. Despite tremendous potential for early life interventions at multiple levels of this ecosystem to improve children’s life course health trajectories, this potential has not been fully explored. In fact, Life Course Health Development is a low priority for both health care and research funding. Representing the work of the Life Course Intervention Research Network, this supplement to Pediatrics reports on the first steps taken to define the emerging discipline of life course intervention research. Articles cover the characteristics of life course interventions together with a research framework and core competencies for this work. Topics include family, community, and youth engagement as vital components of grounding this work in health equity, family health development and its measurement, supporting children after prematurity, and new approaches to early childhood mental health. Schools and telehealth are considered innovative platforms for life course interventions, whereas cross-sector partnerships are recognized as key components of interventions to address childhood adversity. Researchers apply a Life Course Health Development lens to juvenile justice issues, including the minimum age law, and consider potential trade-offs whereby “striving” (education and income mobility) can limit “thriving” (health mobility) for people of color and those raised in low-income families. Finally, we present the Australian experience of embedding life course interventions in longitudinal studies.
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