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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 Apr;15(2):113-8. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2009.09.001. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Effects of maternal obesity on fetal growth and body composition: implications for programming and future health.

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Developmental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, 2nd Floor McGregor Building, Western Infirmary, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6NT, UK.


Since the hypothesis linking low birth weight and poor fetal growth with future risk of cardiovascular disease was first proposed, there has been much interest in the early origins of disease. As rates of obesity increase and as maternal obesity has become common, interest has been directed towards the early origins of obesity. It is likely that a complex interaction of inherited gene effects and in-utero environment may interact in the developing fetus to programme pathways leading to future obesity. It is clear that maternal metabolism is disturbed in pregnancy in obese women, and that offspring of obese mothers have a higher percentage of body fat and are insulin resistant. This review discusses the ideas contributing to the current working concept of obesity programming, and discusses several potential mechanisms that may underlie obesity programming and susceptibility to future metabolic and vascular disease.

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