A Flu Pandemic Reduces Quality of Life for Babies

Initially, Almond doubted that the intrauterine conditions provided by a pregnant woman, even one sick with a virulent strain of the flu, could exert any lasting influence on her offspring. “When I started looking at the influenza pandemic, I was skeptical of the fetal origins hypothesis. I didn’t think I’d find any long-term effects,” Almond says. “But the evidence was the opposite of what I expected.” Through an analysis of census data, Almond discovered that those individuals gestated during the pandemic did poorly as children and adults compared to cohorts born shortly before or after the flu hit. “People who were in utero during the pandemic did worse, on average, on just about every socioeconomic outcome recorded,” he says. Over their lifetimes, they displayed lower educational attainment, lower income, and lower socioeconomic status; they suffered higher rates of disability, and required higher welfare payments. Individuals gestated during the pandemic were 15 percent less likely to graduate from high school, and 15 percent more likely to be poor; the men earned wages that were 5 to 9 percent lower, and they were 20 percent more likely to have heart disease or to be disabled as older adults. Even their height was affected: when the cohort of people born soon after the pandemic showed up for enlistment in World War II, they were shorter than recruits born the year before and the year after.

...Because of the long-lasting impact of prenatal conditions, Almond tells me, “you could say that the influenza pandemic of 1918 isn’t over yet.”


Children born during the flu pandemic grew up to have a poorer socioeconomic status than those born at other times.

Folksonomies: pregnancy fetal development

/health and fitness/disease/cold and flu (0.451130)
/business and industrial/energy/oil (0.331669)
/health and fitness/disease (0.263150)

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Almond:Person (0.840822 (negative:-0.481562)), flu:HealthCondition (0.766958 (negative:-0.694773)), World War II:FieldTerminology (0.292227 (negative:-0.475248)), utero:Country (0.285755 (negative:-0.637180)), heart disease:HealthCondition (0.271789 (negative:-0.754426)), 15 percent:Quantity (0.271789 (neutral:0.000000)), 20 percent:Quantity (0.271789 (neutral:0.000000)), 9 percent:Quantity (0.271789 (neutral:0.000000))

Influenza (0.959758): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Pandemic (0.852029): dbpedia | freebase
Influenza pandemic (0.833750): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Avian influenza (0.765711): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Pregnancy (0.733965): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Uterus (0.721930): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Influenza vaccine (0.698504): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Human flu (0.660905): dbpedia | freebase

 Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Paul , Annie Murphy (2010-09-28), Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, Free Press, Retrieved on 2011-02-08
Folksonomies: pregnancy fetal obstetrics


11 AUG 2011

 The Science of Social Welfare

Social Welfare grew from a series of studies that determined children and babies who were malnourished or overly stressed suffered lifetimes of problems behaviorally and economically.