Developmental Origins of

Obesity and Diabetes


The incidence of obesity is increasing at an alarming rate and this worldwide epidemic represents an ominous predictor of increases in diseases such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Epidemiological and animals studies suggest that maternal obesity and alterations in postnatal nutrition are associated with increased risks for obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes in the offspring. Furthermore, there is also growing appreciation that developmental programming of neuroendocrine systems by the perinatal environment represents a possible cause for these diseases.


“ A significant body of literature supports the hypothesis that maternal obesity results in increased risk for metabolic disease in offspring. Whether or not obesity or other intrauterine conditions affect development of brain energy regulation pathways is a question that will impact the success of strategies to develop effective anti-obesity drugs. ”

2004 Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research