The first epidemiological studies showing a link between low birth weight and chronic diseases in adults did not distinguish the origins of low birth weight. A low birth weight may be the result of a premature birth. It can also be caused by an intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). A child can be both preterm and IUGR. It is clear now that prematurity is an independent risk factor for programming chronic adult diseases. However, unlike adults born IUGR, adults born prematurely do not have an increased risk to develop metabolic syndrome (dyslipidemia or obesity). An increased risk of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric morbidity and hypertension is found after a premature birth. Mechanisms of chronic diseases programming are multiple: they involve both the cause of prematurity and IUGR such as infection / inflammation or placental insufficiency, but also consequences for therapeutic or nutritional strategies needed to support these children. This chapter describes the possible prevention of perinatal programming of noncommunicable diseases.
© 2016 médecine/sciences – Inserm.