Early-life Risk Factors for Adult Chronic Disease
Fehmida Jalil, Sophie E S.E. Moore, Nadeem Shafique N.S. Butt, R.N. Rifat N Ashraf, Shakila Zaman, A.M. Andrew M Prentice, L.Å. Lars Å Hanson
Evidence suggests that risk of chronic diseases may be programmed during the foetal and early life of the infant. With high rates of low birthweight coupled with a rapid nutritional transition, low-income countries are facing an epidemic of chronic diseases. Follow-up of a cohort of adults born during 1964-1978 in an urban slum in Lahore, Pakistan, is presented in this paper. In 695 of these adults (mean age=29.0 years, males=56%), blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and body mass index (BMI) were measured to assess early-life predictors of risk of chronic diseases. Sixteen percent of the study population was born with a low birthweight (\textless2,500 g). A significant positive association (p=0.007) was observed between birthweight and BMI; additionally, adjusting for age and gender, the association with BMI was highly significant (p=0.000). Conversely, a significant negative association (p=0.016) was observed between birthweight and adult levels of fasting plasma glucose; after adjustment for age and gender, the association was more significant (p=0.005) No association was observed between birthweight and adult blood pressure. The results suggest that low birthweight may increase later risk of impaired glucose tolerance in urban Pakistani adults. Further research in this area is warranted. © International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh.