The dangerous link between childhood and adulthood predictors of obesity and metabolic syndrome

Maria Felicia Faienza, David Q.H. Wang, Gema Frühbeck, Gabriella Garruti, Piero Portincasa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The purpose of this review is to evaluate whether some risk factors in childhood work as significant predictors of the development of obesity and the metabolic syndrome in adulthood. These factors include exposures to risk factors in the prenatal period, infancy and early childhood, as well as other socio-demographic variables. We searched articles of interest in PubMed using the following terms: ‘predictors AND obesity OR Metabolic syndrome AND (children OR adolescents) AND (dyslipidemia OR type 2 diabetes OR atherosclerosis OR hypertension OR hypercholesterolemia OR cardiovascular disease)’ AND genetic OR epigenetic. Maternal age, smoking and weight gain during pregnancy, parental body mass index, birth weight, childhood growth patterns (early rapid growth and early adiposity rebound), childhood obesity and the parents’ employment have a role in early life. Furthermore, urbanization, unhealthy diets, increasingly sedentary lifestyles and genetic/epigenetic variants play a role in the persistence of obesity in adulthood. Health promotion programs/agencies should consider these factors as reasonable targets to reduce the risk of adult obesity. Moreover, it should be a clinical priority to correctly identify obese children who are already affected by metabolic comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Predictors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine


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