• Vol. 43 No. 1, 57–58
  • 15 January 2014

Early Influences in Childhood Obesity—Implications for Adult Metabolic Disease

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In the past 20 years, an epidemic of adult and childhood obesity has swept through the developed world resulting in the “globesity” epidemic. This is clinically significant since obesity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases which now occur earlier in life. Recent landmark research has identified that the intrauterine and early postnatal environment can strongly influence the risk of developing obesity and other problems in later life. The 9 months of gestation constitute the most critical period of life when the embryo miraculously develops and early life influences encountered in-utero will shape the fetus’ susceptibility to disease and its metabolism. These prenatal influences include the nutrition, drugs, chemicals and infections which the fetus was exposed to in the womb, which can significantly influence fetal development.

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