Maternal nutrition and the programming of obesity: The brain

Beverly Sara Mühlhäusler, Clare L Adam, I Caroline McMillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing incidence of obesity in the developed and developing world in the last decade has led to a need to define our understanding of the physiological mechanisms which can predispose individuals to weight gain in infancy, childhood and adulthood. There is now a considerable body of evidence which has shown that the pathway to obesity may begin very early in life, and that exposure to an inappropriate level of nutrition during prenatal and/or early postnatal development can predispose individuals to obesity in later life The brain is at the heart of the regulation of appetite and food preferences, and it is increasingly being recognized that the development of central appetitive structures is acutely sensitive to the nutritional environment both before and immediately after birth. This review will summarize the body of work which has highlighted the critical role of the brain in the early origins of obesity and presents some perspectives as to the potential application of these research findings in the clinical setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • fetal programming
  • appetite
  • obesity
  • leptin
  • neuropeptides


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