Our oldest BiB child, Ibrahim, turns 10 years old in April. This is both a major milestone for Ibrahim and his family but also for the Born in Bradford Research Programme.
Born in Bradford was founded back in 2007 by our Chief Investigator, Professor John Wright. Our mission was to explore factors linked to health (and ill-health) in our communities and use this knowledge to help families improve their health, and to allow health professionals and service providers to improve the services they provide. We decided to set up a brand new study called BiB which would recruit mums and their families to our research study during pregnancy, and follow their lives from birth and beyond. It’s fair to say we started on a bit of a wing and a prayer, not really knowing what to expect or how we would be received. We set up camp in the maternity unit of the Bradford Royal Infirmary and starting approaching pregnant mums to take part in our study when they attended for routine hospital appointments.
The enthusiasm and support from Bradford families was overwhelming. Over four years we recruited over 12,500 Bradford families to our study, who had over 13,500 Bradford babies. We are now one of the largest family studies in the world! However, we wouldn’t be here without the enthusiasm, commitment and hard work of our local health professionals and education providers. As you can imagine, keeping track over all of our BiB babies and parents is a time consuming job! So we asked for help where we could. Our health visitors recorded the growth of our BiB children when they had routine visits with BiB mums in the early years; our school nurses collect information on blood pressure and body mass index; and primary school teachers across Bradford are helping us collect measures of cognitive development and wellbeing. BiB truly is a team effort.
Over the past 10 years the findings we have produced from BiB have had both local and international impact. For example, we have been able to demonstrate definitively the impact of air pollution on low birth. These findings have been used to help Bradford Council secure money to clean up fleets of polluting diesel buses within the city, but have also be used by the European Environment Agency to rethink EU standards for air quality within cities. Our research on the impact of early life on health and wellbeing helped Bradford secure to secure a £50 million Big Lottery Fund award for Better Start Bradford to implement and evaluate innovative projects for child health and wellbeing in in Bradford over the next 10 years. You can find more details of our findings in our ‘in a nutshell’ section of the website.
We are now in the wonderful position to be able to revisit all our BiB families and explore how their lives, health and happiness has changed over the past 10 years in our new project ‘BiB Growing Up’. Over the next 2 years we will be inviting all our families to jump aboard our state of the art ‘Big BiB Bus’ and complete cutting edge assessments of health and wellbeing, including having a full body scan!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our BiB families and supporters and our friends from health, education and voluntary sector organisations for making BiB the success it is today. It is truly inspiring to work on a research project that has so much potential to change the health of our city. I look forward to another 10 years (and more) of our BiB journey and seeing our families grow with us.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BORN IN BRADFORD!