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Lifelong consequences of poor fetal growth

Susan M Sayers and Gurmeet R Singh
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (1): 5-6.
Published online: 4 January 2010

Adaptive responses to a poor intrauterine environment may predispose to obesity and its related chronic diseases in a later, nutritionally enriched, environment

The global burden of death, disability and loss of human capital as a result of impaired fetal development is huge, and affects both developed and developing countries.1 The Indigenous people of Australia have high rates of low birthweight and chronic non-communicable diseases in adulthood, leading to premature adult mortality, with current life expectancies 17 years less than for other Australians.2 Improvements are occurring in Aboriginal health, but they are overshadowed by the continuing poor health profile of Aboriginal people. The article by Hoy and Nicol in this issue of the Journal is noteworthy in that it highlights the decreases in neonatal and infant mortality in a remote Northern Territory Aboriginal community.3

  • Susan M Sayers1
  • Gurmeet R Singh2

  • Menzies School of Health Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT.

Correspondence: sue.sayers@menzies.edu.au

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