Early Support Reduces Health Costs in old age

By Jacobs Foundation, PRNE
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winners of the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize Present a Surprising Theory at the Award Ceremony in Zurich

ZURICH, December 3, 2010 - The risk of age-related illnesses can be reduced and the associated
increase in health costs mitigated with the aid of professional care and
support in early childhood, said the winners of the Klaus J. Jacobs research
prize, Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi, at the award ceremony in Zurich on
Friday. The Anglo-American scientists were awarded one million Swiss francs
by the Jacobs Foundation for their research into child and youth development.

Moffitt and Caspi, professors of neuropsychology at Duke University,
North Carolina, USA, and King's College, London, have until recently
concentrated their studies on the long-term impact of childhood experiences.
Now they intend to focus on the effects on health, Terrie Moffitt announced
in her acceptance speech. She explained that initial investigations had shown
that stress and traumatic experiences in childhood increase the risk of
developing immunodeficiency disorders, heart and circulatory problems, as
well as age-related dementia.

According to Terrie Moffitt, care and support during early childhood
would become a key to solving the problems of ageing societies, if the
connection between stress-free childhood and health in old age proved to be
conclusive: the onset of age-related illnesses would be postponed, and there
would be fewer problems in old age. The bottom line was that it would be
possible to curb the increase in health costs, which is to a large extent
fuelled by increased life expectancy.

'The research findings of Moffitt and Caspi make me confident that
intervention programs for youth development are meaningful and necessary,
particularly for children and youth at risk. This will encourage all the
non-profit-organization members who have dedicated their workforce to
improving the state of the disadvantaged around the world", said an
enthusiastic Dr. Auma Obama at the award ceremony. The half sister of US
President Barack Obama who was elected as a new member of the board of
trustees of the Jacobs Foundation during the current year, pursues a
full-time career in youth development projects in Africa.

Early support is a focal point of the development work carried out by the
Jacobs Foundation. With the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Award, worth
200,000 Swiss francs, the foundation fittingly paid tribute to an early play
and development program - the models developed by the Opstapje association in
Germany and the a:primo association in Switzerland. These models provide
care, support and education for parents of children from the age of two on
the basis of home visits. The support program is now active in over sixty
German and Swiss towns.

Find initial photos of the award ceremony on Flickr from approx. 5.30 pm


Find the presentation films of the event on YouTube from 4 pm


Find all additional information on the winners and the prize


Background information on the Jacobs Foundation

The Zurich-based private Jacobs Foundation was established in 1988 by
entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs. Ever since, the foundation has focused its
efforts on the development of children and youth. Today it has many decades
of experience in the funding of science and specific intervention programs
and their implementation in this field.

The Foundation deploys an approach of child and youth development, which
puts special emphasis on the positive development opportunities for young
people. As far as its methods and approaches are concerned, it is
particularly committed to scientific excellence and evidence-based findings.
With its investment of EUR 200 million in the Jacobs University Bremen
(2006), it set new standards in the area of private funding.


    Martin A. Senn
    Jacobs Foundation
    Seefeldquai 17
    Post office box
    8034 Zurich
    E-Mail: martin.senn@jacobsfoundation.org
    Phone: +41-44-388-61-06
    Mobile: +41-79-301-84-68

Contact: Martin A. Senn, Jacobs Foundation, Seefeldquai 17, Post office box, 8034 Zurich, Switzerland, E-Mail: martin.senn at jacobsfoundation.org, Phone: +41-44-388-61-06, Mobile: +41-79-301-84-68

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