Striving to Unravel the Totality of Exposures on Health

Susan Viet

A new journal article assesses the interplay of environmental influences with the genome and biological processes across time. “While genomics is a well-established field, our understanding of the exposome—the sum of all exposures—on health is growing increasingly complex,” notes Westat’s Susan Viet, Ph.D. “Systematically assessing multiple exposures and their associations with health endpoints throughout the life course and across cohorts is the 21st century challenge facing human health researchers.”

Dr. Viet, the National Institutes of Health’s Michael Dellarco, Dr.PH., and others have coauthored their research in a recent article in a special edition of Frontiers in Pediatrics: Recommendations for Assessment of Environmental Exposures in Longitudinal Life Course Studies Such as the National Children's Study.

The authors present a developmental framework and recommendations for comprehensive assessment of environmental exposures over the lifecourse. Five exposure domains are addressed: chemical and biological exposures, physical environment, stress including social support and coping, social determinants, and modifying factors including diet, obesity, and physical activity.

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