Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, allergy, some forms of cancer, cognitive decline, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and affective disorders, are the world's biggest killers. Eighty percent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, especially as these countries undergo socioeconomic improvement after reductions in infectious disease. The World Health Organization predicts a global increase of 17% in NCDs over the next decade. NCDs are preventable, but new initiatives are needed to institute such prevention, especially in early life. In this article, we emphasize that all children are affected by their early developmental conditions, not just children exposed to a very deficient environment, and that this has long-term consequences for their predisposition to NCDs. We highlight the biomedical implications of this developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) concept of NCDs and discuss the implications for health policy.
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