Fetal Origins. Fetal origins of adult disease: strength of effects and biological basis

Barker, D.J.P., Eriksson, J.G., Forsen, T. and Osmond, C. (2002) Fetal Origins. Fetal origins of adult disease: strength of effects and biological basis. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31, (6), 1235-1239.


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Background Low birthweight has been consistently shown to be associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) and its biological risk factors. The effects of low birthweight are increased by slow infant growth and rapid weight gain in childhood. To quantify the importance of developmental processes in the genesis of CHD it is necessary to establish the impact of fetal, infant and childhood growth on major pathological events in later life—death, hospital treatment and the need for medication.

Methods Longitudinal study of 13 517 men and women who were born in Helsinki University Hospital during 1924–1944, whose body sizes at birth and during childhood were recorded, and in whom deaths, hospital admissions, and prescription of medication for chronic disease are documented.

Results The combination of small size at birth and during infancy, followed by accelerated weight gain from age 3 to 11 years, predicts large differences in the cumulative incidence of CHD, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Conclusions Coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes may originate through two widespread biological phenomena—developmental plasticity and compensatory growth.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0300-5771 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: fetal growth, childhood growth, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease
Subjects: R Medicine > RB Pathology
Q Science > QP Physiology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
ePrint ID: 25226
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:47
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/25226

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