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Famine Exposure During Early Life May Lead to an Increased BMI in Adulthood

It has been previously reported in epidemiologic studies that famine exposure during early life is associated with overweight or obesity in adulthood. In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 20 studies, this paper set out to determine whether exposure to famine in early-life had any association with overweight or obesity in later life.

This study was conducted according to the Cochrane methodology, and included research from a variety of different famines across the world with considerations for gender and age. It found that there was a significant correlation between early life exposure to famine and being overweight in later life, and that this association was stronger in females, individuals less than 50 years of age and individuals who experienced foetal exposure.

The mechanisms for this phenomenon are still not clear, however the author goes on to discuss the different systems that the famine could affect, including a formatting of the HPA neuroendocrine access that controls energy intake and expenditure, epigenetic changes sustained during famine causing behavioural differences, as well as psychological damage to the individual, which will affect their behaviour and attitude towards food.

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