Preserving Cardiovascular Health in Young Children: Beginning Healthier by Starting Earlier

Linda Van Horn*, Eileen Vincent, Amanda K Marma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The goals of this paper are to review current literature regarding maternal-fetal-pediatric diet and nutritional factors related to preserving cardiovascular health in the very young child and the emerging data implicating nutritional influences on neurodevelopmental factors. Questions related to maternal diet and influences of human milk on child’s growth, neurodevelopment, and risk of developing obesity were addressed. Recent Findings: The majority of US women in their reproductive years have overweight or obese status thereby increasing the risk of developing obesity in their children. Efforts to restrict gestational weight gain, perpetuate breast-feeding, and introduce heart-healthy complementary feeding after 6 months of age are now more commonly recommended and offer practical translational approaches to prevent pediatric obesity and encourage neurodevelopment intended to support cognitive and executive function. Summary: There is growing literature on the role of maternal-fetal-pediatric nutrition on cardiometabolic and neurodevelopmental health in children. Potential influences of maternal diet quality and obesity on not only birth outcomes but subsequent risk factor development in the child are increasingly apparent. Further investigation of these factors has become a major research focus in developing future diet recommendations to better inform underlying potential mechanisms and identify opportunities for primary prevention starting in utero.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalCurrent atherosclerosis reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Cardiometabolic risk
  • Maternal diet
  • Pediatric obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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