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Int J Obes (Lond). 2011 Jul;35(7):883-90. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.96. Epub 2011 May 17.

Maternal over-nutrition and offspring obesity predisposition: targets for preventative interventions.

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Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Obesity now represents one of the major health care issues of the 21st century. Its prevalence has increased exponentially in both the developed and developing world during the last couple of decades. Such a rapid rise can therefore not be explained by a change in genotype, but must result from environmental factors and their interaction with our genes. There is clear evidence to show that current environmental factors such as current diet and level of physical activity can influence our risk of obesity. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that factors acting during very early life can influence long-term energy balance. One such factor that is emerging as an important player is maternal obesity and/or over-nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. Early life may therefore represent a critical period during which intervention strategies could be developed to reduce the prevalence of obesity.

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