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Healthy Heart Reports

Starvation In Uterus Causes Heart Attacks

A recent report from the University of Amsterdam shows that women deprived of food for the first three months of their pregnancies give birth to children who are at high risk for dying from heart attacks when they are adults.

In 1944 and 1945, the Allied forces failed to capture and hold the bridge spanning the Rhine at Anheim, so the people of Amsterdam couldn't get any food and existed on rations as low as 400 calories per day. There was no increased risk for heart disease in children of mothers who were starved after the first 13 weeks or those who were born during the starvation period.

Babies born to mothers starved in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, weighed less than five pounds at birth and had much smaller head sizes. Women who conceive during a famine have babies who as adults have higher insulin levels, are fatter and suffer more heart attacks.

Roseboom et al. Coronary Heart Disease after prenatal exposure to the Dutch Famine. Heart 2000;84:595-8.


Copyright 2000
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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