When should cardiovascular prevention begin? The importance of antenatal, perinatal and primordial prevention

Flavio D’Ascenzi, Carlotta Sciaccaluga, Matteo Cameli, Annagrazia Cecere, Marco M. Ciccone, Simona Di Francesco, Antonello Ganau, Egidio Imbalzano, Riccardo Liga, Pietro Palermo, Pasquale Palmiero, Gianfranco Parati, Roberto Pedrinelli, Piero Scicchitano, Annapaola Zito, Anna V. Mattioli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardiovascular diseases represent a major health problem, being one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Therefore, in this scenario, cardiovascular prevention plays an essential role although it is difficult to establish when promoting and implementing preventive strategies. However, there is growing evidence that prevention should start even before birth, during pregnancy, aiming to avoid the onset of cardiovascular risk factors, since events that occur early in life have a great impact on the cardiovascular risk profile of an adult. The two pillars of this early preventive strategy are nutrition and physical exercise, together with prevention of cardio-metabolic diseases during pregnancy. This review attempts to gather the growing evidence of the benefits of antenatal, perinatal and primordial prevention, discussing also the possibility to reverse or to mitigate the cardiovascular profile developed in the initial stages of life. This could pave the way for future research, investigating the optimal time and duration of these preventing measures, their duration and maintenance in adulthood, and the most effective interventions according to the different age and guiding in the next years, the best clinical practice and the political strategies to cope with cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • children
  • diabetes mellitus
  • exercise
  • heart disease
  • obesity
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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