Associations of gestational exposure to famine with energy balance and macronutrient density of the diet at age 58 years differ according to the reference population used

Aryeh D. Stein, Andrew Rundle, Nikolas Wada, R. A. Goldbohm, L. H. Lumey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Individuals exposed to the Dutch Famine of 1944-45 during gestation have increased adiposity, which might be due to changes in energy intake, physical activity, or metabolic efficiency.We studied 357 persons born between January 1945 and March 1946 whose mothers experienced famine during or immediately preceding pregnancy, 298 persons born in the same 3 institutions during 1943 or 1947 (time controls), and 311 same-sex sibling controls. We obtained food frequency and physical activity data by questionnaire between 2003 and 2005 (mean age 58 y). We defined gestational exposure as exposure to a ration of <3762 kJ/d (<900 kcal/d) for at least 10 wk. For the whole study population, energy intake was 9225 ± 2650 kJ/d and physical activity was 7380 ± 4331 metabolic equivalents (MET)-min/wk. Compared with time controls, gestational famine exposure was associated with 113 kJ/d (95% CI, -272, 502) higher energy intake, 0.01 percentage point (95% CI, -0.88, 0.89) higher fat density, 688 MET-min/wk (95% CI, 21398, 23) lower physical activity, and 63 kJ/d (95% CI, -130, 259) higher predicted energy expenditure (pEE). Compared with sibling controls, gestational famine exposure was associated with 4 kJ/d (95% CI, -702, 711) higher energy intake, 2.01 percentage points (95% CI, 0.38, 3.63) higher fat density, 97 MET-min/wk) (95% CI, -1243, 1050) lower physical activity score, and 188 kJ/d (95% CI, -163, 539) higher pEE. Gender-specific associations (P < 0.05 for heterogeneity) emerged for protein density and pEE using time controls and for energy intake using sibling controls. Associations were weak, differed by choice of control, and may reflect sampling variability or methodological differences. Persistent small energy imbalances could explain the increased weight of famine-exposed individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1555-1561
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume139
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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