Increase in the prevalence of hypertension among adults exposed to the Great Chinese Famine during early life

Lingli Liu, Xianglong Xu, Huan Zeng, Yong Zhang, Zumin Shi, Fan Zhang, Xianqing Cao, Yao Jie Xie, Cesar Reis, Yong Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to assess the association between exposure to the Great Chinese Famine (1959-1961) during early life and hypertension in adulthood. Methods: From July to September 2009, 1224 eligible adults were recruited in a cross-sectional survey using a multi-stage stratified random sampling method in Chongqing China. A questionnaire was used to collect information of hypertension and sociodemographic factors. Participants were categorized as childhood, fetal, and none exposure to famine based on the date of birth. Results: Of the sample, 12.3% reported having hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension varied by famine status: 11.9% in childhood exposure, 16.1% in fetal exposure, and 10.2% in non-exposure group. After adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, compared with non-exposure group, fetal exposure group had an increased likelihood of having hypertension with odds ratio of 1.79 (95%CI 1.13-2.84). Although there was no significant gender and famine interaction, the positive association between famine exposure and hypertension was stronger among women than men. Conclusion: Fetal exposure to the Chinese famine may be associated with an increased risk of arthritis in adulthood in women.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Health and Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2017


  • Adulthood
  • Childhood
  • Chinese famine
  • Hypertension
  • Malnutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this