Does fate exist? Genes determine our genotype, and if fate does exist, it is, at least partly, written in our DNA. Polymorphisms likely influence the development of atherosclerosis and hypertension , insulin resistance  and osteoporosis . But genes are not the sole actors in defining the individual. Unfavourable social and economic conditions likely affect our final height, the age of sexual maturation , physical performance , intellectual skills and adaptive abilities . Could in utero malnutrition influence our «fates» to the point of “programming” our metabolic characteristics ? For example, are we condemned, even before we are born, to an early death due to myocardial infarction, to a vascular cerebral accident, or to the complications of non-insulin-dependent diabetes , simply because our birth weight was inappropriate for gestational age or because we failed to gain weight adequately during our first year of life?