Early origins of disease: Non-fetal

Daniel J. Hoffman, Alessandra D. Sommer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Decades of research now support the concept that specific chronic diseases of adulthood have origins in utero or during early childhood. There is substantial evidence that nutritional programming of later disease risk begins during infancy and childhood and may be mediated by several different factors, such as feeding regimes (especially breast-feeding versus artificial feeding) and growth trajectories. Research on these topics is complicated by the fact that breast-feeding is associated with other maternal characteristics, such as education and socio-economic status, that will impact other aspects of a child's rearing that may themselves affect diseases of later life. Possible associations between breast-feeding and later obesity and diabetes require further research. As well, early postnatal growth trajectories are more associated with adult disease outcomes and there is strong evidence that rapid postnatal growth can amplify the effects of retarded fetal growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Human Nutrition
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-4, Fourth Edition
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780323908160
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


  • Breast-feeding
  • Chronic disease
  • Diabetes
  • Early origins
  • Growth
  • Hypertension
  • Infant feeding
  • Obesity


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