University of Cambridge sifted through the health records of more than 450,000 British adults, and learned that people born in June, July and August were taller, didn’t enter puberty earlier, and had a high Apgar score at birth.
These markers can influence growth and health later in life. Dr. Ken Ong, one of the study’s senior researchers, said he hoped that the new findings may teach people how childhood events may bring long-lasting benefits.
Past studies had shown that external factors exert a deep influence on the newborn’s health and well being as an adult, including the conditions provided by the mother in her womb.
Study authors reported that people born in summer months weighed more at birth, had a healthier appearance, and were more likely to become tall adults. Women born in the summer didn’t have problems related to early puberty, which is a common risk factor for breast cancer later on.
Dr. John Perry, the lead author of the research, said that the new study was the first of its kind to link seasonality with the moment puberty kicks in.
“We were surprised, and pleased, to see how similar the patterns were on birth weight and puberty timing,”
Dr. Perry added.
Nevertheless, the research team couldn’t tell why babies born in summer months are healthier. They speculate that mothers that have their babies in the summer get an extra dose of vitamin D from the summer sun. Vitamin D influences how fast people grow and develop.
And as the body gets more vitamin D, the conditions in the womb improve, researchers believe. Past research showed that indeed pregnant women do not get enough vitamin D during pregnancy.
Dr. Nicholas Tatonetti, a biomedical informatics researcher at Columbia University who wasn’t part in the study, said that the new findings do not provide a guide to when to have babies, but what external elements influence our health on the long-term. Yet, while we cannot control our birth months, there are other factors that we can control such as vitamin D intake in mothers.
In June, a paper published by at Columbia University Medical Center also found a link between birth months and risk of cardiovascular disease and infections later in life.
Image Source: Flickr
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