United Kingdom researchers found that babies born during summer months are healthier adults. The data used in the study was retrieved from the UK Biobank and included approximately 450,000 participants, both male and female.
Thanks to the largest medical data bank in the UK, the research team was able to determine that babies born during summer months are healthier adults. Previous studies have indicated that child development and the moment a child reaches puberty are linked to medical condition later in life. However, this is the first time an extensive study has been conducted on how birth month affects later development.
Published in the Heliyon journal, the study was conducted by a research team with the University of Cambridge Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, UK. The lead author of the study, Doctor John Perry declared:
“This is the first time puberty timing has been robustly linked to seasonality”.
The main finding of the study is that baby girls born during summer months grow to be healthier women on average. According to the researchers this may be due to increased exposure to vitamin D. During pregnancy, mothers who moderately spend time outdoors in the sunlight, particularly during the second trimester are more likely to expose the fetus as well to more vitamin D. A deeper insight on this aspect is needed. However, it may be a plausible correlation with women’s health later in life.
According to the study findings, the month we are born in affects our weight at birth and other development factors. In the case of girls, it also affects the moment they reach puberty, go through their first menstruation cycle and suffer hormonal changes.
These aspects affect girls’ health as they grow to be adults. The process of programming before birth is what impacts childhood development and the transition into adulthood. As such, the researchers found that babies born in summer months – June, July, August – are heavier at the time of birth compared to babies born in winter months or colder months. Reaching puberty also happened later in their development. For girls, previous studies have shown that reaching puberty later is strongly linked to a healthier development as an adult from a medical perspective. Moreover, babies born during summer months grew to be taller adults than babies born during other seasons.
According to Doctor Perry, these results indicate that the month of birth have been proven for the first time to have an effect on health and development. However, he stated, more research is needed to fully comprehend the mechanisms at play.
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