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Project: FAMINE

Prenatal under-nutrition exposure and adult mortality

The aim of this project is to analyze the long-term effects on survival and human health of prenatal under-nutrition exposure.

In 2008 the US National Institute on Aging (of the National Institutes of Health) supported this study on the long-term impact of famine on health using historical data. An extension of the project was awarded by NIA-NIH in 2015. The project is executed in collaboration with Dr. L.H. Lumey (Columbia University, New York). The project uses individual information on 45,000 male subjects born or conceived during various stages of the Dutch Hunger Winter in the first months of 1945 and in periods outside that period. We have information about the medical examination that these subjects underwent when they were selected for military service in the 1960s. We follow these subjects in the national death and population registries to the present day to study their survival and causes of death to test various specific hypotheses on the effect of under-nutrition in utero on later life health.

Additionally we also estimate the war-related (both famine and non-famine) excess mortality during the last stage of the Second World War in the Netherlands (1944-1945).


Ekamper, P., Bijwaard, G.E., Poppel, F.W.A. van & Lumey, L.H. (2017),
Sterfte door hongerwinter en oorlog. Demos: bulletin over bevolking en samenleving 33 (4): 3-4. [URL]
Ekamper, P., Bijwaard, G.E., Poppel, F.W.A. van & Lumey, L.H. (2017),
War-related excess mortality in The Netherlands, 1944–45: New estimates of famine- and non-famine-related deaths from national death records. Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 50 (2): 113-128. [URL]
Stradford, L., Poppel, F.W.A. van & Lumey, L.H. (2017),
Can resource dilution explain differences in height by birth order and family size? A study of 389,287 male recruits in twentieth-century Netherlands. The History of the Family 22 (2-3): 214-235. [URL]
Ekamper, P., Poppel, F.W.A. van, Bijwaard, G.E. & Lumey, L.H. (2016),
De lange arm van de Hongerwinter. Demos: bulletin over bevolking en samenleving 32 (5): 5. [URL]
Bijwaard, G.E., Poppel, F. van, Ekamper, P. & Lumey, L.H. (2015),
Gains in life expectancy associated with higher education in men. PLoS ONE 10 (10): e0141200. [URL]
Ekamper, P., Poppel, F. van, Stein, A.D., Bijwaard, G.E. & Lumey, L.H. (2015),
Prenatal famine exposure and adult mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other causes through age 63 years. American Journal of Epidemiology 181 (4): 271-279. [pdf]
Huang, Y., Poppel, F. van & Lumey, L.H. (2015),
Differences in height by education among 371,105 Dutch military conscripts. Economics & Human Biology 17: 202-207. [pdf]
Poppel, F. van, Ekamper, P., Bijwaard, G.E. & Lumey, L.H. (2015),
Late gevolgen van de Hongerwinter. Gen.: tijdschrift voor familiegeschiedenis 21 (2): 50-54.
Ekamper, P., Poppel, F. van, Stein, A.D. & Lumey, L.H. (2014),
Independent and additive association of prenatal famine exposure and intermediary life conditions with adult mortality age 18-63 years. Social Science & Medicine 119: 232-239. [pdf]
Lumey, L.H. & Poppel, F. van (2013),
The Dutch famine of 1944-45 as a human laboratory: changes in the early life environment and adult health. In: L.H. Lumey & A. Vaiserman (eds.), Early life nutrition and adult health and development. New York: Nova Science Publishers, p. 59-76. [pdf]
Lumey, L.H. & Poppel, F. van (2011),
De Hongerwinter als laboratorium; prenatale blootstelling aan ondervoeding en de gevolgen voor de gezondheid later in de levensloop. In: L. Bonneux (ed.), De gezonde levensloop; een geschenk van vele generaties. Boekaflevering Mens & Maatschappij 85, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, p. 57-82.
Lumey, L.H., Ekamper, P., Stein, A.D. & Poppel, F. van (2011),
Mortality after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine of 1944-45. American Journal of Epidemiology 173 (Suppl 11): S241. [pdf]
Lumey, L.H., Ekamper, P., Stein, A.D. & Poppel, F. van (2011),
Mortality after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine of 1944-1945. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 65: A266. [pdf]

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