In her PhD thesis, Fareeha Shaikh investigate the genetic and environmental contribution to the association between lower birth weight and higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.


  1. Parents, uncles and aunts of children with low birth weight have increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
  2. Low offspring birth weight is associated with an unfavorable cardiovascular risk factor profile in all family members.


Thesis: Intergenerational association between birth weight and cardiovascular disease; a population-based study of offspring, their parents, aunts and uncles
Candidate: Fareeha Shaikh
Time: November 3, 2020 at 12:15
Place: Online-based solution, due to the covid-19 situation
Link to university website


(1) Mothers of children with low birth weight are at 60% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The increased risk is attenuated after adjustment for individual risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Fathers have 16% increased risk compared to fathers of children with normal birth weight, but less pronounced risk increase after risk factor adjustment.

The results indicate that both intrauterine and shared environmental factors are important for the association. The study includes more than one million births between 1967 and 2012, and different health surveys provided information about the parents’ risk factors.

(2) The higher the child’s birth weight, the lower is the mother’s, father’s, aunts’ and uncles’ risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. The association is most pronounced in mothers.

1 353 956 births are included in the study. Adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors in a subgroup attenuated all the associations.


(1) Shaikh, F., Kjøllesdal, M. K. R., & Naess, Ø. (2018). Offspring birth weight and cardiovascular mortality among parents: the role of cardiovascular risk factorsJournal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease9(3), 351-357.

(2) Shaikh, F., Kjølllesdal, M. K., Carslake, D., Stoltenberg, C., Davey Smith, G., & Næss, Ø. (2020). Birthweight in offspring and cardiovascular mortality in their parents, aunts and uncles: a family-based cohort study of 1.35 million birthsInternational journal of epidemiology49(1), 205-215.

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