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Keywords:

  • development;
  • diabetes;
  • disease;
  • fitness;
  • inflammation;
  • obesity

Abstract

The concept that environmental stimuli imparted on a developing organism have the potential to affect both its short- and long-term developmental profiles is intuitively appealing and, more importantly, supported by a growing body of experimental and observational evidence. A number of groups have posited model hypotheses in tandem with experimental data, linking extrinsic factors to the development of a host of human diseases. Here, we review the evolution of ‘the developmental origins of health and disease’ as a concept and discuss recent advances in the association of specific stimuli to obesity, an epidemic cause of human morbidity and mortality.