Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Hypertension risk for adults born during China's great famine

Adults born during the 1959-61 famine are likely to have growth retardation and hypertension
by Michael Woodhead
Babies born during the great Chinese famine of 1959-61 have a higher risk of hypertension and short stature in adulthood, research shows.
The 1959-1961 Chinese Great Famine  triggered by the Great Leap Forward appears to have had an adverse event especially  fetal development in the first trimester of pregnancy, according to researchers from the Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Guangzhou Medical University.
They conducted a retrospective study of 12,065 adults aged between 46-53 who were born between 1957-1964 in  Guangdong province, China.
Their findings showed that the risk of hypertension was 1.4-fold higher in babies whose mothers were exposed to famine conditions during the first trimester of pregnancy, and 1.83-fold higher in babies experienced famine during infancy. People who experienced famine during infancy also had an increased risk of short stature, but not of obesity.
The researchers note that the 1959–1961 Chinese Great Famine, caused by a sharp drop in crop production and the “Great Leap Forward” policies, was the largest in human history, lasting approximately three years and resulting in about 30 million deaths and about the same number of lost or postponed births.
"Our study on the effects of early life exposure to the Chinese Great Famine strongly suggests a critical role for changes in exposure to famine during the fetal development period and from prenatal to postnatal life in developmental “programming” cardiovascular risk. Good infant nutrition appears to be beneficial whatever the fetus experienced in utero," the researchers conclude
Read more: PLOS One

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