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WHO/Entre Nous: A good start lasts the rest of your life

Article in WHO/UNFPA 'Entre Nous' - The European Magazine for Sexual and Reproductive Health:

'A good start lasts the rest of your life' by Jessica Perry and Philippe Grandjean

 Introduction: A doctor will usually ask a patient about lifestyle, job and exercise to understand the factors that may affect the patient´s Health. Although often  helpful, new research suggests that such questions may be outdated by decade. Indeed, our current lifestyle does affect our Health and well-being, but risk factors during early deveopment can exert a much more profound effect on disease risks and organ functions.

For many years human development was thought to follow a hard-wired genetic programme that was not much affected by outside influences. It is now understood that development is plastic, which allows the developing foetus and the small child to respond to the surrounding environment.