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Chronic disease
P2-163 Mortality after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine of 1944–1945
  1. L H Lumey1,
  2. P Ekamper2,
  3. A D Stein3,
  4. F van Poppel2
  1. 1Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2NIDI, The Hague, The Netherlands
  3. 3Emory University, Atlanta, Atlanta, USA

Abstract

Introduction Some studies have examined long term health effects of famine exposure during pregnancy but little is known about possible effects on adult survival.

Methods We selected men with prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine of 1944–1945 from military examinations records (n=408 015) for births 1944–1946 in the Netherlands. We included men exposed in the immediate post-natal period (n=8225) and in the third (n=8197), the second (n=6809), and the first trimester of pregnancy (n=4666). We also selected men exposed around conception (n=7727). Unexposed men born before or after the famine or outside the famine area were selected as controls.

Results We first linked 82% of the selected sample population (n=45 000) to national population records from the Netherlands Statistical Office for 2004–2009. These provide current vital status and cause of death where applicable. Successful linking was unrelated to famine exposure status or to indicators of social class. The remainder of the sample is now being traced at the Netherlands Central Bureau of Genealogy for deaths that took place prior to 2004. To date, 89% of the study population has been traced in either of these registries, covering deaths from 1967 to 2009. Among those traced, mortality until 2009 was 9%. In 24%, cardiovascular disease was the primary cause of death, in 50% cancers, and in 26% other causes.

Conclusions Our findings show that long term tracing of vital status and cause of death is possible in this environment.

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