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J Epidemiol Community Health 43:237-240 doi:10.1136/jech.43.3.237
  • Research Article

The intrauterine and early postnatal origins of cardiovascular disease and chronic bronchitis.

  1. D J Barker,
  2. C Osmond,
  3. C M Law
  1. MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital.

      Abstract

      Geographical differences in mortality from cardiovascular disease and chronic bronchitis within England and Wales are closely related to past differences in infant mortality. This paper examines the separate relations of mortality during 1968-78 with neonatal and post-neonatal mortality during 1911-25. These divisions of infant mortality are indicators of the intrauterine and early postnatal environments respectively. Stroke is related to neonatal mortality and therefore to the intrauterine environment. Prenatal determinants of blood pressure levels may be one mechanism underlying this. Bronchitis is related to postnatal mortality and therefore to the postnatal environment. This may reflect the long term effects of lower respiratory tract infection in early childhood. Ischaemic heart disease is related to both neonatal and post-neonatal mortality and therefore to the intrauterine and postnatal environments. The links may include blood pressure and as yet unknown processes established in early postnatal life.