Wednesday, October 14, 2015
So which season baby are you? Recent study findings suggest that summer born babies are more likely to become strong healthy adults. They link this outcome to maternal vitamin D exposure in the summer months. .
Published in the journal Heliyon, the study used data to compare the growth and development of about 450,000 men and women from the UK Biobank study. They found that June, July and August born babies had higher birth weights, were taller as adults and girls achieved puberty later in life. Incredibly, those born in December, January and February months showed directionally opposite outcomes. .
According to the researchers, these associations were noticed when mothers reported exposure to the sun during the 2nd trimester and not during the first 3 months. Surprisingly, vitamin D exposure was also linked to the level of educational attainment. Children born in autumn were highly likely to study well and achieve graduation. .
The researchers feel vitamin D exposure could bring about these changes although there is a need for strong evidence. Commenting about this fact, the researchers said, “We don't know the mechanisms that cause these season of birth patterns on birth weight, height and puberty timing. We need to understand these mechanisms before our findings can be translated into health benefits. We think that vitamin D exposure is important, and our findings will hopefully encourage other research on the long-term effects of early life vitamin D on puberty timing and health." .
The researchers said the study findings support the foetal programming hypothesis which states that the environment in the womb can affect health in the future. Although novel, the study does have some limitations. It did not include a direct measurement of maternal or foetal vitamin D status, maternal exposure to vitamin D or its supplementation. The study could even face recall bias. Hence, there is a need for large scale studies to identify the mechanism of action.
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