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Many studies in different settings and times provided us with enough evidence of the association between environmental exposures (mainly nutrition) during pregnancy/infancy and later health outcomes, such as adult non-communicable diseases (NCDs). An individual with a given susceptibility will continue to experience new environmental challenges (e.g. growth), and these later experiences will modulate the early ones. Children that are thin in infancy and then become larger are at greater risk for later NCD. Studies demonstrated that rapid weight gain is a strong predictor of later NCD, independently of the birthweight. But which periods imply a greater risk for developing NCD? Two periods in the first years of life have been linked to the early obesity onset: the first 6 months and between 2 and 5 years of age. And when do these later health outcomes appear? The literature suggests that they start long before adulthood. Children with rapid weight gain have greater risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease in the first years of life. These lines of evidence suggest that future research should be committed with educational programs and preventive actions focusing on better life behavior in childhood, adolescence and pregnancy.
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