Epidemiology, genes and the environment: lessons learned from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study

J Intern Med. 2007 May;261(5):418-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01798.x.


Nonoptimal growth during fetal life and infancy is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes later in life. This early pattern of growth is associated with an increased disease risk especially when followed by a relative gain in body size later in childhood. Genetic factors are closely involved in growth and disease pathogenesis and gene-early life environmental interactions will be described affecting adult health outcomes. This overview will primarily focus upon findings from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study consisting of 15846 subjects born 1924-1944 on whom growth data and information on adult health are available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Coronary Disease / genetics
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / physiopathology


  • Insulin