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Early life nutritional programming of health and disease in The Gambia

  • S. E. Moore (a1)

Abstract

Exposures during the early life (periconceptional, prenatal and early postnatal) period are increasingly recognized as playing an important role in the aetiology of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD), including coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. The ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’ (DOHaD) hypothesis states that these disorders originate through unbalanced nutrition early in life and risk is highest when there is a ‘mismatch’ between the early- and later-life environments. Thus, the DOHaD hypothesis would predict highest risk in countries where an excess of infants are born with low birth weight and where there is a rapid transition to nutritional adequacy or excess in adulthood. Here, I will review data from work conducted in rural Gambia, West Africa. Using demographic data dating back to the 1940s, the follow-up of randomized controlled trials of nutritional supplementation in pregnancy and the ‘experiment of nature’ that seasonality in this region provides, we have investigated the DOHaD hypothesis in a population with high rates of maternal and infant under-nutrition, a high burden from infectious disease, and an emerging risk of NCDs.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: S. E. Moore, MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, 120 Fulbourn Road, Cambridge, CB1 9NL, UK. (Email:sophie.moore@mrc-hnr.cam.ac.uk)

References

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Early life nutritional programming of health and disease in The Gambia

  • S. E. Moore (a1)

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