Food and Behaviour Research

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The Dutch Famine (Hungerwinter) Study

The Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study is an ongoing study investigating the effects of exposure to the 1944-1945 famine in utero on health in adulthood.

The study has shown that the offspring of mothers who were pregnant during the famine have more diabetes. People exposed to famine during mid gestation develop more obstructive pulmonary disease and microalbuminuria.

Those who were exposed early gestation have more atherogenic lipid profile, altered clotting, more obesity, and a 3-fold increase in cardiovascular disease.

The study has also found that children of mothers who were pregnant during the famine show higher rates of many mental health disorders in adolexcence and adulthood.

Members of the study population were traced to their current address in 2003. A telephone interview and medical examination were conducted in 2003–05.