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Prenatal exposure to famine and the development of diabetes later in life: an age-period-cohort analysis of the China health and nutrition survey (CHNS) from 1997 to 2015.
Li J, Zou X, Zhong F, Yang Q, Manson JE, Papandonatos GD, Zheng L, Wu WC, Chan KHK, Song Y, Kuang J, Liu S. Prenatal exposure to famine and the development of diabetes later in life: an age-period-cohort analysis of the China health and nutrition survey (CHNS) from 1997 to 2015. European journal of nutrition. 2023 Mar 1; 62(2):941-950.
Prenatal exposure to famine has been linked to increased diabetes risk in adulthood. However, one fundamental issue to be addressed is that the reported famine-diabetes relation may be confounded by the age differences between the exposed and non-exposed groups. We aimed to determine the association between prenatal exposure to the Chinese famine of 1959-1962 and risk of diabetes by applying age well-controlled strategies.
Among 20,535 individuals born in 1955-1966 who participated in the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1997 to 2015, we constructed age-matched exposed vs. non-exposed groups to investigate the role of prenatal exposure to the Chinese famine of 1959-1962 in relation to diabetes. We also built a hierarchical age-period-cohort (HAPC) model to specifically examine the relation of famine to diabetes risk independent of age.
Compared to the age-balanced men in the non-exposed group, the exposed men born in 1961 had a 154% increased risk of diabetes [odds ratio (OR) 2.54 (95% CI 1.07-6.03), P? = 0.04). In the HAPC analysis, the predicted probabilities of diabetes peaked in the 1961-birth cohort of men [3.4% (95% CI 2.4%-5.0%)], as compared to the average probability of diabetes (reference) of 1.8% for men overall. Neither analytical strategy revealed any strong relation between famine exposure and diabetes risk in women.
Among the pre-defined Chinese famine period of 1959-1962, early-life exposure to famine was associated with increased diabetes risk in men but not in women, and these relations were independent of age.