Fetal programming and eating disorder risk

Candace Jones, Brad Pearce, Ingrid Gabriela Barrera, Amanda Mummert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Fetal programming describes the process by which environmental stimuli impact fetal development to influence disease development later in life. Our analysis summarizes evidence for the role of fetal programming in eating disorder etiology through review of studies demonstrating specific obstetric complications and later eating risk of anorexia or bulimia. Using Pubmed, we found thirteen studies investigating obstetric factors and eating disorder risk published between 1999 and 2016. We then discuss modifiable maternal risk factors, including nutrition and stress, that influence anorexia or bulimia risk of their offspring. Translation of these findings applies to preventative strategies by health organizations and physicians to provide optimal health for mothers and their children to prevent development of medical and psychiatric illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
StatePublished - Sep 7 2017


  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Fetal development
  • Prenatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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