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Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar;85(3):869-76.

Anthropometric measures in middle age after exposure to famine during gestation: evidence from the Dutch famine.

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  • 1Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few studies in humans have related maternal undernutrition to the size of the adult offspring.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective was to assess whether reductions in food intake by pregnant women during the Dutch famine of 1944-1945 were related to offspring length, weight, and indexes of adiposity in middle age.

DESIGN:

We recruited 1) exposed persons born in western Netherlands between January 1945 and March 1946 whose mothers experienced famine during or immediately preceding pregnancy, 2) unexposed persons born in the same 3 institutions during 1943 or 1947 whose mothers did not experience famine during this pregnancy, and 3) unexposed same-sex siblings of persons in series 1 or 2. Anthropometric measurements (n = 427 males and 529 females) were obtained between 2003 and 2005. We defined 4 windows of gestational exposure (by ordinal weeks 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, and 31 through delivery) on the basis of exposure to a ration of <900 kcal/d during the whole 10-wk interval.

RESULTS:

Exposure to reduced rations was associated with increased weight and greater indexes of fat deposition at several tissue sites in women but not in men (P for interaction <0.01). Measures of length and linear proportion were not associated with exposure to famine.

CONCLUSION:

Reduced food availability may lead to increased adiposity later in life in female offspring.

PMID:
17344511
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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