Famines in the last 100 years: implications for diabetes: implications for diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Overnutrition is a major cause of diabetes. The contrary situation of undernutrition has also been suggested to increase the risk of the disease. Especially undernutrition during prenatal life has been hypothesized to program the structure and physiology of the fetus in such a way that it is more prone to develop diabetes in later life. Famines over the last 100 years have provided historical opportunities to study later-life health consequences of poor nutritional circumstances in early life. The majority of studies based on famine exposure during prenatal life clearly show that diabetes risk is increased. Postnatal famine exposure in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood also seems to raise risk for diabetes, although prenatal famine effects seem to be more substantial. These study results not only have implications for the consequences of famines still happening but also for pregnancies complicated by factors mimicking poor nutritional situations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536
JournalCurrent Diabetes Reports
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetal Development
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Journal Article
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Placental Insufficiency
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Risk Assessment
  • Starvation
  • Survivors

Cite this