Children born in summer months tend to lead healthier lives as adults, new research says.
New research is saying that women born in the summer are more likely to grow up to be healthy adults, according to an article on eurekalaert.org.
Researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, UK analyzed data from almost one-half million people in the United Kingdom, and found that summer-born children were slightly heavier at the time of birth, grew taller as the became adults, and went through puberty a little bit later that those who were born during the winter months.
The authors of the study say they suspect that more sunlight, and therefore increased amounts of vitamin D exposure in the second trimester of pregnancy, could be the cause of the differences, but quickly added more research would be needed to confirm that theory.
The effect of the environment in the womb, called programming, can have an influence on the person’s health later in life and has profound consequences for childhood development and becoming an adult.
The month of the birth affects the weight at birth and the time at which a girl begins puberty. Both of these factors have been shown to have a direct impact on the health and well-being of women as they become adults.
Dr. John Perry, lead author of the study said, “When you were conceived and born occurs largely ‘at random’ – it’s not affected by social class, your parents’ ages or their health – so looking for patterns with birth month is a powerful study design to identify influences of the environment before birth.”
Dr. Perry and the group, believing that the timing of entering puberty and early childhood development played a part in the overall health of adults, chose to take a close look at the time of year in which children were born. Earlier studies have said that the time of year a person was born could have influences on some health outcomes.