People exposed to starvation have a high risk of developing cancer later in life, and prior studies have shown these individuals have high insulin and cholesterol levels and are sensitive to glucose. Using C. elegans as a model, we found that glucose and cholesterol can promote survival and cause starved L1 diapause worms to undergo abnormal neuronal cell divisions. Starvation has also been shown to promote long-term survival; however, we found that the functions of glucose and cholesterol in relation to these cell divisions are distinct from their effects on survival. We demonstrate that glucose functions in a DAF-16/FOXO-independent IIS pathway to activate the MAPK ontogenetic signaling to induce neuronal Q-cell divisions, and cholesterol works through DAF-12/steroidogenic pathways to promote these cell divisions. daf-12 and mpk-1/MAPK mutants suppress the function of glucose and cholesterol in these divisions, and a fully functioning dpMPK-1 requires the steroid hormone receptor DAF-12 for these divisions to occur. These afflictions also can be passed on to the immediate progeny. This work indicates a possible link between glucose and cholesterol in starved animals and an increased risk of cancer.