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Revista Cubana de Pediatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7531On-line version ISSN 1561-3119


JIMENEZ GARCIA, Rafael; ALFONSO NOVO, Lázaro; PENALVER, Ronoel  and  SANTANA PORBEN, Sergio. Low birth weight and early programming of life, a present and future problem. Rev Cubana Pediatr [online]. 2017, vol.89, n.2, pp.241-251. ISSN 0034-7531.

The fact that the fetal development may be an influential factor on the human development during the whole life cycle has been explored since the first half of the 20th century when Kermack and others analyzed the historical mortality rates in Great Britain and Switzerland, and observe that the life expectancies are determined by the existing conditions during the early phases of life. The studies by Forsdhal in 1977 determined that the poverty conditions, followed by prosperity in childhood and adolescence, were cardiovascular risk factors. These considerations led Barker to create his hypothesis on the relationship between the low birth weight and the cardiovascular risk, the insulin resistance and the type II diabetes in adulthood. Although a unique causative relationship has not been yet proved between the low birth weight and the development of non-communicable chronic diseases (a multi-causal relationship in both in vitro and in vivo studies), it has been demonstrated that a deficient intrauterine medium, regardless of the cause, may increase the risk of suffering these diseases as it may happen if the adverse medium persists during childhood and adolescents (deficient nutritional states) since the risk perpetuates. The present report is aimed at analyzing some theoretical aspects related to early programming of life and its relation with the development of non-communicable chronic diseases as well as its importance for the family physician and the general pediatrician in daily medical practice to prevent them in further stages of the human development.

Keywords : early programming; low birth weight; non-communicable chronic diseases.

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