Osteoporosis is one of the most prevalent skeletal disorders and has enormous public health
consequences due to the morbidity and mortality of the resulting fractures. This article discusses the
developmental origins of osteoporosis and outlines some of the modifiable and non-modifiable risk
factors in both intrauterine and postnatal life that contribute to the later onset of osteoporosis. Evidence
for the effects of birth size and early growth in both preterm and term born infants are discussed
and the role of epigenetics within the programming hypothesis is highlighted. This review provides
compelling evidence for the developmental origins of osteoporosis and highlights the importance of
osteoporosis prevention at all stages of the life course.
Keywords: Bone mineral density, Life course, Programming, Osteoporosis.
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