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Prematurity and programming of cardiovascular disease risk: a future challenge for public health?


There is substantial epidemiological evidence linking low birth weight with adult cardiometabolic disease risk factors. This has led to the concept of ‘early life programming’ or the ‘developmental origins of disease’ which proposes that exposure to adverse conditions during critical stages of early development results in compensatory mechanisms predicted to aid survival. There is growing evidence that preterm infants, many of whom are of low birth weight, are also at increased risk of adult cardiometabolic disease. In this article, we provide a broad overview of the evidence linking preterm birth and cardiovascular disease risk and discuss potential consequences for public health.

  • Metabolic
  • Neonatology
  • Obesity
  • Vascular Disease

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