Cardiovascular disease is a major public health problem worldwide and might originate in early life. Not only fetal life, but also early postnatal life is important for cardiovascular health. Common risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure, lipid levels and obesity track from childhood to adulthood. Both an adverse fetal environment and an affluent postnatal environment seem to adversely affect cardiovascular health from childhood to adulthood. Identifying the risk factors and the sensitive periods in early life and the mechanisms through which early life affects cardiovascular health are important for future preventive strategies to ensure cardiovascular health later in the life course. Therefore, studies presented in this thesis were designed to identify fetal, infant and childhood factors associated with cardiovascular health outcomes in childhood. The research is part of Generation R, a large and longitudinal cohort study on growth, development and health of 10.000 children from Rotterdam. Findings from this thesis suggest that early-life growth and adiposity related factors are associated with cardiac structure and adverse cardiovascular outcomes in children. Future studies should focus on how changes in cardiac structure and cardiovascular outcomes in childhood relate to cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood. Preventive strategies should start early in life and focus on (pre)pregnancy weight and habits. Since not only fetal life, but also early childhood is an important critical period for later cardiovascular health, preventive strategies and early interventions in early childhood might be effective in improving cardiovascular health.

epidemiologie, MRI, hart- en vaatziekten, linker ventrikel, groei, obesitas
V.W.V. Jaddoe (Vincent) , W.A. Helbing (Willem)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
For copyright reasons there is a partial embargo for this dissertation

Toemen, L. (2020, January 16). Early Life Growth, Adiposity and Cardiovascular Health in Childhood: The Generation R Study. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from