Are we what our mothers eat? (from FoodUnfolded)

Are we what our mothers eat? (from FoodUnfolded)

“You are what your mother ate” is the concise summary Roseboom, Director of Amsterdam Reproduction & Development and Professor of Early Development and Health at the Amsterdam UMC, gave when she presented her PhD research in 2000.3 The study she worked on was one of the first inklings of the importance of prenatal nutrition, and the lasting effects maternal malnutrition has on the child. 

For her PhD, she assessed the effect of prenatal exposure to maternal malnutrition on coronary heart disease in people born around the Dutch famine, 1944-45. This famine, known in the Netherlands as the Hongerwinter (literal translation: hunger winter), took place in the German-occupied Netherlands, especially in the densely populated western provinces, during the winter and spring of 1944-45, near the end of World War II.4

Roseboom studied over 700 babies born between November 1943 and February 1947.5 Their birth records were preserved for decades in the attic of a hospital and were so surprisingly accurate that fifty years later, she could trace almost all babies from them. Nowhere in the world is hunger so well documented as in those records.6


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