The Winter of Hunger

The Winter of Hunger

"Winter is Coming" has a real-world equivalent: Hongerwinter , that is, the Winter of Hunger, which took place between 1944 and 1945 in Holland.

It was neither the first nor the most insidious famine in human history: heavy rains in the early 1300s reduced harvests to such an extent that a quarter of the entire European population died . But the Winter of Hunger showed us just how famine can change humanity, and even affect the children of children’s children, genetically.

This famine was unique when it occurred in a modern, developed and literate country, suffering under the deprivations of occupation and war.

For that reason, researchers from the AMC (Amsterdam Academic Medical Center) were able to study the so-called Hongerwinter to demonstrate how hunger affects fetal programming. The children were not only born with low weight due to the hunger of their parents, but also showed a greater propensity to antisocial behavior and to suffer from obesity.

Actress Audrey Hepburn , for example, spent her childhood in the Netherlands during these events. During his life he suffered from anemia, and respiratory diseases, and his subsequent clinical depression during his adulthood has been attributed to the malnutrition he suffered at an early age.

Image | JohnGoode