Prenatal exposure to famine heightens risk for later being o
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An analysis of historical medical records found that men who were prenatally exposed during early gestation to the Dutch famine of 1944-1945 were 30 percent more likely to be overweight with a BMI of 25 or over at age 19, compared to a similar group not exposed to the famine. The study confirms evidence on the health risks of prenatal famine exposure, which also includes diabetes and schizophrenia.

Researchers studied heights and weights of 371,100 men in the Netherlands born between 1943 and 1947 and examined for military service at age 19. This group includes men with and without prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine.

There was a 1.3-fold increase in the risk of being overweight or obese in young adults at age 19 after prenatal famine exposure in early gestation. The increase was only seen in sons of manual workers born in the large cities of Western Netherlands and not among those born in smaller cities or rural areas in the West. Social class differentials in fertility decline during the famine did not bias study results.

Conclusively, the long-term adverse impact of prenatal famine on later life type 2 diabetes and mortality through age 63 is already showing at age 19 in this population as a significant increase in overweight risk.

International Journal of Obesity
Source: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00824-3
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