To present a new area of knowledge, knowri as developmental origins of health and disease, covering its concepts study methods and ethical considerations. Material and methods: A review of the medical literature intended to identify current references related to the subject under discussion.Results: The studies dernonstrate associations between aggressions suffered during the initial phases of somatic development and amplified risk of chronic diseases throughout life, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. A variety of modeis havc been proposed inattempts to better explain these associations,such as the thrifty phenotype, programming and predictive adaptive response theories and the concept of match or mismatch. Mechanisms possihly involved in these processes are: effects of the environment on gene expression, through epigenetic mechanisms; effects of hormonal signais transmitted to the fetus via the placenta or the newborn vía lactation.Conclusions: Developmental origins of health and diseases draws together information originating from many different arcas of knowledge, proposing new investigative methodologies Lo clucidate the influence of adverse events that occur during early phases of human development on the pattern of health and disease throughout. life. This new scientiflc fleid proposes new modeis of causali' and of the mechanisms involved in the emergence aral development of chronic diseases. The results of these invcstigations may result in a signiflcant impaci on the prevention of chronic diseases, and also on health promotion in differentphases of life.