Can your child’s birthday determine his health?
A recent study has revealed that the month in which your baby is born could affect your child’s health, intelligence and length of life, depending on how sunny the season is.
Scientists believe that vitamin D, which is made by the body after exposure to sunlight, helps to regulate thousands of genes during a child’s development. So a lack of sunshine during your child’s first months may influence mental and physical health, the Daily Mail reports.
The research has suggested that spring babies are at greater risk of illnesses such as asthma, autism, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Figures suggest that babies born from April to June had shorter lives than those born in October, November and December, with a study in the US claiming that autumn babies outlived spring babies by 160 days.
The season of birth is said to be strongly linked with the development of multiple sclerosis, with the largest effects being seen at northern latitudes, where there isn’t as much sunlight.
Results from Scotland reveal that babies born in April are 50% more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than babies born in November. However, the disease is rarer among Norwegians, possibly because they eat a lot of oily fish that is rich in vitamin D.
Babies with spring birthdays are also less likely to be short sighted than babies born in the summer. Scientists conclude that the risk of illness is highest for birthdays between March and May, for families in the northern hemisphere.
However, it has been emphasised that the risks are small. For example, babies born between December and March have a 10% higher risk of developing schizophrenia. However, this is still just a 1.1% chance of a high-risk baby developing a condition.
“These are small effects but they are very, very clear. I am not giving voice to astrology… but we are not immune to seasonal interference,” explained Professor Russell Foster from Oxford University.
“It is not clear what intervention you’d make from a health point of view. Deciding to only have sex in February, for example, is obviously impractical,” added Professor David Spiegelhalter from Cambridge University.