The “early life” origins of obesity-related health disorders: New discoveries regarding the intergenerational transmission of developmentally programmed traits in the global cardiometabolic health crisis
Article first published online: 22 OCT 2013
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 152, Issue Supplement S57, pages 79–93, December 2013
How to Cite
Benyshek, D. C. (2013), The “early life” origins of obesity-related health disorders: New discoveries regarding the intergenerational transmission of developmentally programmed traits in the global cardiometabolic health crisis. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 152: 79–93. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22393
- Issue published online: 19 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 22 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Received: 22 JUN 2013
- “cardiometabolic syndrome”;
Popular media reports concerning the causes of the current global obesity pandemic and its related sequelae—the cardiometabolic syndrome—are often couched in terms of dramatic changes in diet and lifestyle around the world; namely, drastically increasing dietary intakes of high energy foods and plummeting levels of daily physical activity—the hallmarks of the so called “nutrition transition.” Far less attention is generally drawn to the important role phenotypic plasticity during early life (i.e., “developmental programming”) plays in the cardiometabolic health crisis. Recently, however, researchers working within the field of the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) and epigenetics have extended our understanding of the role played by these developmental processes and capacities in health and disease even further by investigating the transmissible nature of developmentally programmed cardiometabolic traits to subsequent generations. In this review, after briefly revisiting the fundamental discoveries of first-generation DOHaD research, I consider how recent discoveries regarding the transmissibility of developmentally acquired traits are providing new insights into the current global cardiometabolic pandemic, and how a better understanding of developmental programming—including transmissibility—are essential for the conceptualization and implementation of public health initiatives aimed at stemming this global health crisis. Am J Phys Anthropol 57:79–93, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.