The amazing significance of what a mother-to-be eats

New research reveals the extraordinary impact that your mother’s diet at the time of your conception has on the rest of your life, writes Michael Mosley.

A couple of months ago, I found myself in a small village in Keneba, in The Gambia, chatting to a perky 90-year-old, Karamo Touray, surrounded by his many children and grandchildren. Apart from a sore toe, he said he was in good shape and he attributed the fact he had enjoyed such a long and healthy life to the will of Allah.

I suspect that the time of year when he was conceived may also have played a role.

A team from Britain’s Medical Research Council, which has been collecting data on births, marriages and deaths in Keneba since the 1940s, discovered some years ago that in this part of The Gambia when you are conceived makes a huge difference to your chances of dying prematurely.

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