Background: Findings of studies addressing outcomes of warrelated famine in non-Jewish populations in Europe during the Second World War (WWII) confirmed an association between prenatal/early life exposure to hunger and adult obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome. Fetal programming was suggested as the explanatory mechanism. Objectives: To study the association between being born during WWII in Europe and physical long-term outcomes in child Holocaust survivors. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on all Jewish Clalit Health Services (CHS) North District members born in 1940–1945 in Europe (‘exposed’, n=653) or in Israel to Europe-born parents (‘non-exposed’, n=433). Data on sociodemographic variables, medical diagnoses, medication procurement, laboratory tests and health services utilization were derived from the CHS computerized database and compared between the groups. Results: The exposed were significantly more likely than the non-exposed to present with dyslipidemia (81% vs. 72%, respectively), hypertension (67% vs. 53%), diabetes mellitus (41% vs. 28%), vascular disease (18% vs. 9%) and the metabolic syndrome (17% vs. 9%). The exposed also made lower use of health services but used anti-depressive agents more often compared to the non-exposed. In multivariate analyses, being born during WWII remained an independent risk marker for hypertension (OR = 1.52), diabetes mellitus (OR = 1.60), vascular disease (OR = 1.99) and the metabolic syndrome (OR = 2.14). Conclusions: The results of this cross-sectional study based on highly validated data identify a high risk group for chronic morbidity. A question regarding potential trans-generational effects that may impact the ‘second generation’ is also raised.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Israel Medical Association Journal|
|State||Published - 2015|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Israel Medical Association. All rights reserved.
- Health conditions
- Holocaust survivors
- Long-term effects
- World war II
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (all)