LIFESTYLE
13/10/2015 06:42 BST | Updated 14/10/2015 05:59 BST

Summer Babies Are Healthier And Taller Than People Born In Winter, Study Reveals

Summer babies may be healthier than their winter-born counterparts, new research suggests.

A new study has found that adults who were born in June, July, and August were heavier at birth and taller as adults on average than those born in winter months.

The study also found that girls born in the summer started puberty later than those born during other seasons.

As early developers are thought to have an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, the scientists concluded that being born in the summer may reduce your chance of developing such diseases later in life.

sunshine babies

The University of Cambridge researchers compared the growth and development of 450,000 British men and women to investigate whether birth time can influence health in later life.

They found that summer babies were 10% less likely to be short as adults - defined by being under 5ft 9 inches for men and 5ft 3 inches for women - than those born in winter.

One possible explanation for this could be that pregnant women who go through their second and third trimesters during the summer months absorb more vitamin D from sunshine than those who give birth in winter.

Vitamin D is important for bone development, so may act as a "rate-limiting factor for growth", the study states.

"We don't know the mechanisms that cause these season of birth patterns on birth weight, height, and puberty timing," lead author Dr John Perry said, according to The Telegraph.

"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."

Although summer babies may have a physical advantage over winter babies, previous research has shown that they are more likely to struggle academically.

A study of 7,000 British children by Royal Holloway London in June found the youngest children in reception class were twice as likely to have language and behaviour problems than the older children in the same class.

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