Impact of nutrition since early life on cardiovascular prevention

Ital J Pediatr. 2012 Dec 21;38:73. doi: 10.1186/1824-7288-38-73.


The cardiovascular disease represents the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Western countries and it is related to the atherosclerotic process. Cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, obesity, accelerate the atherosclerotic process which begins in childhood and progresses throughout the life span. The cardiovascular disease risk factor detection and management through prevention delays the atherosclerotic progression towards clinical cardiovascular disease. Dietary habits, from prenatal nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding to childhood and adolescence nutrition play a basic role for this topic.The metabolic and neuroendocrine environment of the fetus is fundamental in the body's "metabolic programming". Further several studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of breastfeeding on cardiovascular risk factors reduction. Moreover the introduction of complementary foods represents another important step, with particular regard to protein intake. An adequate distribution between macronutrients (lipids, proteins and carbohydrates) is required for correct growth development from infancy throughout adolescence and for prevention of several cardiovascular disease risk determinants in adulthood.The purpose of this review is to examine the impact of nutrition since early life on disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Primary Prevention
  • Risk Factors