A life course approach to cardiovascular aging

Future Cardiol. 2015;11(1):101-13. doi: 10.2217/fca.14.67.


A life course approach in epidemiology investigates the biological, behavioral and social pathways that link physical and social exposures and experiences during gestation, childhood, adolescence and adult life, and across generations, to later-life health and disease risk. We illustrate how a life course approach has been applied to cardiovascular disease, highlighting the evidence in support of the early origins of disease risk. We summarize how trajectories of cardiometabolic risk factors change over the life course and suggest that understanding underlying 'normal' or 'healthy' trajectories and the characteristics that drive deviations from such trajectories offer the potential for early prevention and for identifying means of preventing future disease.

Keywords: adiposity; birth weight; blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; cohort studies; glucose; life course; lipids; longitudinal modeling; social inequalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Birth Weight / physiology
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipids / blood
  • Menopause / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Puberty / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipids