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Econ Hum Biol. 2013 Jul;11(3):281-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2012.02.009. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Fetal and infant origins of diabetes and ill health: evidence from Puerto Rico's 1928 and 1932 hurricanes.

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University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.


A natural experiment is employed to analyze the relationship between living standards, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Results show that shocks generated by two powerful tropical storms striking Puerto Rico during the late 1920s and early 1930s had long-term consequences consistent with the fetal origins hypothesis. Individuals in the womb or early infancy in the aftermath of the storms are more likely to report a diagnosis of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and are considerably more likely to have no formal schooling.

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