Topics:

...famine winter

The ‘Dutch Hunger Winter’ of 1944-45 (http://www.hongerwinter.nl/index.php) provides compelling evidence of the linkage between suboptimal maternal nutrition and long term (non-communicable disease) health outcomes in offspring. Acute restriction of food supplies to western Holland over a defined period at the end of the Second World War, allied to the maintenance of effective medical record keeping during this period, have generated a unique resource which is still the subject of ongoing research. The stage of pregnancy (first, second or third trimester) relative to the food shortage affected outcomes in offspring for some health risks, but not for others, with effects generally being most marked in early gestation. For example, there was a markedly increased risk of cardiovascular disease at 50 years of age in those conceived during the famine, whereas glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity were affected whatever the stage of gestation.