Life course health development: an integrated framework for developing health, policy, and research

Milbank Q. 2002;80(3):433-79, iii. doi: 10.1111/1468-0009.00019.


The life course health development (LCHD) framework organizes research from several fields into a conceptual approach explaining how individual and population health develops and how developmental trajectories are determined by interactions between biological and environmental factors during the lifetime. This approach thus provides a construct for interpreting how people's experiences in the early years of life influence later health conditions and functional status. By focusing on the relationship between experiences and the biology of development, the LCHD framework offers a better understanding of how diseases occur. By suggesting new strategies for health measurement, service delivery, and research, as well as for improving health outcomes, this framework also supports health care-purchasing strategies to develop health throughout life and to build human health capital.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Services Research* / methods
  • Health Services Research* / standards
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Public Health
  • Quality of Life*
  • Research Design
  • United States