Worldwide, hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are highly prevalent disorders and are strong risk factors for cardiovascular disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The developmental origins of health and disease (DOHAD) concept suggests that undesirable perinatal environmental conditions, such as malnutrition, contribute to disease development in adults. Among the known hypertension and CKD risk factors, DOHAD plays a potential role in determining susceptibility to the onset of these diseases in later adulthood. Since low birth weight (LBW) is a surrogate marker for adverse fetal environmental conditions, the high incidence of LBW in developing countries and its increasing incidence in most developed countries (attributed to multiple pregnancies and prepregnancy maternal factors, such as undernutrition, advanced maternal age, and smoking) is concerning. Thus, LBW is an important public health problem not only because of the associated infant mortality and morbidity but also because it is a risk factor for adult-onset hypertension/CKD. During their reproductive years, pregnant women who were born with LBWs have an increased risk of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which contribute to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and ESRD. The offspring of LBW females are also likely to be LBW, which suggests that susceptibility to hypertension/CKD may reflect transgenerational inheritance. Therefore, there is global concern about the increasing prevalence of LBW-related diseases. This review summarizes the relevance of hypertension and CKD in conjunction with DOHAD and discusses recent studies that have examined the impact of the upward LBW trend on renal function and blood pressure.
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