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Prenatal Famine Exposure and Long-Term Consequences for Anthropometry and Adult Health

  • Tessa Roseboom
  • Rebecca Painter
  • Susanne de Rooij
Chapter

Abstract

This paper describes the findings from a cohort study of 2,414 people born around the time of the Dutch famine. We found more coronary heart disease, a more atherogenic lipid profile, disturbed blood coagulation, and increased stress responsiveness among those exposed to famine in early gestation. Women exposed to famine in early gestation were more obese and had an increased risk of breast cancer. People exposed to famine in mid gestation had more microalbuminuria and obstructive airway disease. Exposure to famine during any stage of gestation was associated with glucose intolerance. Also, women who had been exposed to famine prenatally were more reproductively successful: they started reproducing at an earlier age, had more children, more twins, and were less likely to remain childless. The effects of prenatal famine exposure did not appear to be restricted to those exposed to it prenatally: also, their children appeared to be less healthy. These findings show that maternal undernutrition during gestation has important effects on health in later life, but that the effects on health depend on its timing during gestation. Early gestation seems to be an especially vulnerable period. Adequate dietary advice to women before and during pregnancy seems a promising strategy in preventing chronic diseases in future generations.

Keywords

Prenatal Exposure Adult Health Late Gestation Early Gestation Maternal Nutrition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tessa Roseboom
    • 1
  • Rebecca Painter
  • Susanne de Rooij
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Epidemiology Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyAcademic Medical CenterAmsterdamthe Netherlands

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