Birth weight linked to adult diseases
Scientists have found genetic links that pull together birth weight, adult metabolism and chronic disease. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, confirmed previous links between low birth weight and both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Of the four genetic regions discovered that influence birth weight, three were directly linked to adult metabolism, two regions were linked with type 2 diabetes susceptibility and one region was associated with blood pressure in adulthood. Two regions may also be associated with adult height, providing proof that genes that control growth begin to take effect at a very early stage of life.
This study analyzed over 50 pregnancy and birth studies, totaling more than 70,000 individuals observed. Despite the discoveries, the researchers warned that the genetics only provide some of the story, as environmental changes can still impact a person's development of disease later in life.