Prenatal exposure to famine can have a lifelong effect on health, according to researchers in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Their study included 702 people born in Amsterdam between late 1943 and early 1947, when the Netherlands was gripped by famine. The researchers compared how study participants and controls responded to a standard oral glucose load. They found that people exposed prenatally to famine had higher rates of impaired glucose tolerance in adulthood than those who were not exposed. Exposure during late gestation also was associated with higher rates of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Voelker R. Famine and Glucose Tolerance. JAMA. 1998;279(6):420. doi:10.1001/jama.279.6.420-JWM81008-3-1