Obesity prevalence is increasing worldwide, leading to increased morbidity, mortality and health care costs due to its role as a key risk factor in many diseases. Early life growth and nutrition has been implicated in determining susceptibility to obesity in both childhood and adulthood; however, the mechanisms underlying this link are poorly understood. A variety of animal models have been established to try and uncover the developmental programming effects of maternal early life nutrition on energy balance regulation and the mechanisms behind them.

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