From fatalism to mitigation: A conceptual framework for mitigating fetal programming of chronic disease by maternal obesity

Janne Boone-Heinonen, Lynne C. Messer, Stephen P. Fortmann, Lawrence Wallack, Kent L. Thornburg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prenatal development is recognized as a critical period in the etiology of obesity and cardiometabolic disease. Potential strategies to reduce maternal obesity-induced risk later in life have been largely overlooked. In this paper, we first propose a conceptual framework for the role of public health and preventive medicine in mitigating the effects of fetal programming. Second, we review a small but growing body of research (through August 2015) that examines interactive effects of maternal obesity and two public health foci - diet and physical activity - in the offspring. Results of the review support the hypothesis that diet and physical activity after early life can attenuate disease susceptibility induced by maternal obesity, but human evidence is scant. Based on the review, we identify major gaps relevant for prevention research, such as characterizing the type and dose response of dietary and physical activity exposures that modify the adverse effects of maternal obesity in the offspring. Third, we discuss potential implications of interactions between maternal obesity and postnatal dietary and physical activity exposures for interventions to mitigate maternal obesity-induced risk among children. Our conceptual framework, evidence review, and future research directions offer a platform to develop, test, and implement fetal programming mitigation strategies for the current and future generations of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-459
Number of pages9
JournalPreventive medicine
Volume81
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Prenatal exposure delayed effects
  • Prevention
  • Second hit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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