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Eur J Hum Genet. 2002 Nov;10(11):682-8.

Cardiovascular and diabetes mortality determined by nutrition during parents' and grandparents' slow growth period.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Social Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Abstract

Overfeeding and overeating in families are traditions that are often transferred from generation to generation. Irrespective of these family traditions, food availability might lead to overfeeding, in its turn leading to metabolic adaptations. Apart from selection, could these adaptations to the social environment have transgenerational effects? This study will attempt to answer the following question: Can overeating during a child's slow growth period (SGP), before their prepubertal peak in growth velocity influence descendants' risk of death from cardiovascular disease and diabetes? Data were collected by following three cohorts born in 1890, 1905 and 1920 in Overkalix parish in northern Sweden up until death or 1995. The parents' or grandparents' access to food during their SGP was determined by referring to historical data on harvests and food prices, records of local community meetings and general historical facts. If food was not readily available during the father's slow growth period, then cardiovascular disease mortality of the proband was low. Diabetes mortality increased if the paternal grandfather was exposed to a surfeit of food during his slow growth period. (Odds Ratio 4.1, 95% confidence interval 1.33-12.93, P=0.01). Selection bias seemed to be unlikely. A nutrition-linked mechanism through the male line seems to have influenced the risk for cardiovascular and diabetes mellitus mortality.

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PMID:
12404098
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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