This report is a scoping review of evidence for associations between early life environmental exposures and the later development of several of the most common chronic diseases.
Part One provides context about chronic disease and care in Canada’s aging population, the reality of the multiple determinants of health, the primacy of the social determinants of health, the considerable breadth of environmental influences on health, the importance of early child development to lifelong health, and the scope and complexity of multiple inter-relationships among all these determinants.
Part Two introduces the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) concept and the related and expanding field of epigenetics. It also discusses key issues that arise in evaluating evidence in complex environmental health issues. The main focus is review of the multiple risk factors for several common chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, several cancers, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease) and includes a detailed look at the evidence for links to environmental exposures. Evidence is reviewed for associations between health outcomes and both adult exposures and early life exposures, including in the womb.