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People with fall birthdays live longer, really



It has nothing to do with the stars. BBC reports scientists have begun to notice people’s lives and health can be affected by their birthday.

Some of this is elementary. For example, children born in January are more mature than classmates born in December of the same year when they enter kindergarten in September, and this can give them a head start.

A 2011 study of British Columbia kindergarten students in 1995 found December kids, when compared with January kids, were 12 to 15 percent less likely to meet reading and numeracy standards in elementary grades and 12 percent less likely to graduate from high school.

Outliers author Malcolm Gladwell found a higher percentage of NHL players born in the first few months of the year. As children, these players were registered in September in leagues based on year of birth. The biggest and strongest players tend to be those born in the first few months of the year. A Tyke player born in February has an extra 10 months of growth over a December baby.

When it comes to health and longevity, scientists are still trying to understand how they are affected by birth month. There is some evidence it may have something to do with the amount of sunlight and vitamin D the mother is exposed to during her pregnancy and how much daylight a newborn receives.

In the late 1990s, Leonid Gavrilov at the University of Chicago found people born in the autumn tend to live longer. His latest paper found autumn babies are about 40 percent more likely to live to 100 than people born in March.

Studies in Austria and Denmark have also found that those born in the fall live longer than people born in the spring.

A study by Sreeram Ramagopalan at the University of Oxford looked at the health records of nearly 60,000 patients in England, showing winter and spring babies are typically more at risk of schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.

Children born in December were 39 percent more likely to be treated with medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared to children with a January birthday, according to a study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

A study from 2003 published in the Journal of Nutrition showed African-American babies born in the summer and fall were smaller than those born at other times. Babies of African-American and Puerto Rican descent gained less weight in their first four months if they were born in the fall.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community found babies born in the fall have a 9.5 percent risk of having food allergies, up from five percent for babies born in June and July. Babies born in November or December were three times more likely to suffer from eczema and wheezing.

Moderate and severe nearsightedness or the inability to see well at long distances, is highest for babies born in the summer months, suggests research published in April 2008 in the journal Ophthalmology.

A scientist at Oxford University who has done the number crunching found children born in July are more likely to need glasses but are usually happy people because they are born in the summer and receive a lot of sunlight during their first few months.

And parents, if you are planning your baby’s time of arrival, June has the highest number of Nobel Prize winners and CEOs.

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