Impact of childhood experience of famine on late life health

J Nutr Health Aging. 2010 Feb;14(2):91-5. doi: 10.1007/s12603-009-0193-8.


Objectives: This study examines whether experience of famine during late childhood affect late life health.

Design: Cross sectional cohort survey carried out from 2001-2004.

Setting: Community in Hong Kong.

Participants: 1,906 men and 1,826 women aged >or= 65 years living in the community.

Measurements: We examined the impact of experience of famine during late childhood, defined as caloric restriction for at least one year, on body mass index, body composition using DEXA, grip strength, walking speed and stride length, blood pressure, and ankle-brachial index,using logistic regression adjusting for various co-variates (age, lifestyle, socioeconomic factors).

Results: Participants who had been exposed to a period of undernutrition in late childhood were shorter, had higher body mass index (BMI) and appendicular lean mass/height2, higher prevalence of recurrent falls, higher prevalence of myocardial infarct, arthritis and back pain.

Conclusions: Late childhood undernutrition has some adverse impact on late life health and functional outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Arthritis / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis / etiology
  • Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Composition
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Starvation / physiopathology*