The field of chronic disease is primarily concerned with the role of early life exposures and early life conditions in adult disease. Specifically, the fetal origins of adult disease (FOAD) hypothesis suggests that exposures, events, or insults that occur in early development, specifically during pregnancy, may have an effect on risk of adult disease in offspring. This entry briefly explores the history leading up to this hypothesis, discusses developments, and highlights the current state of the field. This entry also discusses the significance of this approach over earlier approaches to adult disease as well as future directions.


The FOAD hypothesis arose from observations in Hertfordshire, England, by David Barker that individuals who were born at a low birth weight (<2,500 grams) and had a small ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles