Maternal nutrition, intrauterine programming and consequential risks in the offspring

Endocrinology in Developing Countries: An Update


It is traditionally believed that genetic susceptibility and adult faulty lifestyle lead to type 2 diabetes, a chronic non-communicable disease. The “Developmental Origins of Health and Disease” (DOHaD) model proposes that the susceptibility to type 2 diabetes originates in the intrauterine life by environmental fetal programming, further exaggerated by rapid childhood growth, i.e. a biphasic nutritional insult. Both fetal under nutrition (sometimes manifested as low birth weight) and over nutrition (the baby of a diabetic mother) increase the risk of future diabetes. The common characteristic of these two types of babies is their high adiposity. An imbalance in nutrition seems to play an important role, and micronutrients seem particularly important. Normal to high maternal folate status coupled with low vitamin B12 status predicted higher adiposity and insulin resistance in Indian babies. Thus, 1-C (methyl) metabolism seems to play a key role in fetal programming. DOHaD represents a paradigm shift in the model for prevention of the chronic non-communicable diseases.


Adiposity Developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) Insulin resistance Intrauterine programming Maternal nutrition Offspring 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Diabetes UnitKEM Hospital and Research CentreMaharashtraIndia

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