A Karger 'Publishing Highlights 1890-2015' title There is compelling evidence that many of the risks leading to the most frequent chronic diseases in adulthood originate in the earliest stages of life. Adverse environmental conditions in utero and during infancy can lead to negative health effects during the subsequent lifetime of the exposed individual. This book offers precious insights into the latest concepts and results from epidemiologic, clinical and basic studies in this burgeoning area of health care. The developmental origins of various diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer are examined, as well as the early programming of reproductive health and different organs. Attention is given to the impact of environmental factors such as nutrition and pollution, and the mediating genetic and epigenetic pathways are reviewed. A crucial point under discussion is the concept of environmental insults adversely affecting not only the exposed persons, but also their descendants. In addition, the economic consequences of a suboptimal start to life and the importance of preventive measures are stressed. This publication is of great value to anyone interested in health care, notably to specialists in obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.