Originally known as the "Barker hypothesis," the field of science has expanded rapidly since David Barker, M.D., Ph.D., FRS, first noticed a correlation between birth weight and adult heart disease death in England. The science continues to reveal links between how the environment before birth and in the early years of life, including nutrition, exposure to toxic stress and environmental chemicals, impacts lifelong risk for additional chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Wadhwa, P., Buss, C., Entringer, S., & Swanson, J. (2009). Developmental origins of health and disease: brief history of the approach and current focus on epigenetic mechanisms. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 27(5), 358-368.