//
you're reading...
Health, Science

What’s the best month to be born?

It’s nice to feel special.

Free Girl Holding Fun Pink Happy Birthday Balloons Creative CommonsAstrologers would say your birth month dictates your personality, temperament and chances of future success. Clearly, that’s a load of tosh and designed to make us feel special. However, my wife’s recent remark that ‘all the best people are born in June’ got me thinking. True, she does share her birth month with Donald Trump, George Orwell and Prince William – but surely that’s down to chance. Or is it?

For a long time it has been said that children born in different seasons are more or less susceptible to certain illnesses. Experts have usually cast a wary eye, sceptical of such an absurd notion. Such a suggestion reeks of star signs, planetary alignments, and other such astrological mumbo-jumbo.

However, Virgo’s scales are tipping in favour this idea. Whilst not predicting who your future love, or whether you should turn up for work today, your birth month may dictate your long-term health, your height and ultimately, how long you will live

When do humans get shacked up?

Humans are odd creatures. Most other mammals have a limited number of months (even days) when they can conceive. We on the other hand can get loved-up any time of year (as can rabbits).

In days of yore, female fertility was highest at certain times of the year (usually coinciding with harvest, when Mum-to-be had the most food) so a glut of babies would emerge nine months later. Nowadays, there is much less seasonal variation – food is available all year round. Bizarrely, we still have a preference for making babies in winter (those long dark nights perhaps?) and in late spring (oh, the joys of spring!).

The healthiest time to be born?

A wealth of data shows that your month of birth has very small but noticeable difference in your long term outcome. For example, spring babies end up growing to be a quarter of an inch (0.6cm) taller than autumn babies.

Some medical conditions also show a fairly strong relationship to birth month. Schizophrenia is uncommon but the risk is increased 10% if you are born in the dark months (winter to early spring). For Multiple Sclerosis, May is a particularly bad month to be born (or November in the Southern hemisphere).

Dozens of illnesses have been correlated with specific birth months (and summarised in figure below). Statistics say these differences are more than just chance, even though there is still some conflict about some of the actual results (i.e. Asthma in the UK) – the chart below gives you a good idea:

Specific Illnesses and Birth Month

Grey boxes indicate the highest rates, based on birth month (Source: Current Biology)

The Birthdays with the longest life expectancy

Research from Australia shows that being born between May and March is best and will significantly boost your chances of cashing in on your pension. Should you happen to be such a fortunate Aussie, the odds are that you will live 125 days longer than a friend born between October and December. The difference is the same as smoking 10 cigarettes a day for four years (which is comforting to know).

In the Northern hemisphere, the months are flipped, so us folk should expect to live longest if born between October and November.

Clearly, it’s got something to do with the seasons – and most likely our exposure to sunlight at different times of our development. Quite how or why, no one knows (ignoring the astrologers).

Regardless, I know the truth. The best, most intelligent people were obviously born in April (around the 17th I would say)…

.

Thanks for reading – feel free to comment below…


.

REFERENCES:

Smokers – frighten yourself with the Smoking Risk Calculator

Foster, R., & Roenneberg, T. (2008). Human Responses to the Geophysical Daily, Annual and Lunar Cycles Current Biology, 18 (17) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.003

About these ads

About Stuart Farrimond

I love writing about science and health subjects. Strange, because I also teach the same things. I trained as a medical doctor before turning my hand to other things. Shortlisted for The Guardian/Observer for Science Writer of the Year 2011 and editor for Guru Magazine I also like to grow large pumpkins...

Discussion

5 thoughts on “What’s the best month to be born?

  1. Hi Doc,

    There’s an interesting discussion in the book “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell in which he notices that the best, most successful hockey players in Canada tend to be born at the beginning of the year. Wikipedia offers the following summary:

    “The book begins with Gladwell’s research on why a disproportionate number of elite Canadian hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year. The answer, he points out, is that since youth hockey leagues determine eligibility by calendar year, children born on January 1 play in the same league as those born on December 31 in the same year. Because children born earlier in the year are bigger and maturer than their younger competitors, they are often identified as better athletes, leading to extra coaching and a higher likelihood of being selected for elite hockey leagues. ” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_%28book%29)

    Another interesting way to think about the question/purpose of this blog post!

    K

    Posted by K | December 22, 2011, 3:46 pm
    • Hi K,
      Thanks for your comment. Interesting stuff :)
      Most of the research that is summarised in the post claims to have tried to compensate for differences in when school years begin – but who knows?
      I guess if you want an athletic child, it brings a whole new dimension to pregnancy planning…

      Posted by Stuart Farrimond | December 22, 2011, 7:13 pm
  2. I agree with you about the smartest people being born around the 17th of April. I guess we share the same birthday! :)

    Posted by Lora H | September 16, 2012, 5:00 am
  3. I was born in December( just so you know). Most people born in April are very smart, but I half to say I do aggree that June is smart as well. I think you need a little more information before you can prove me wrong this time. Thanks, it was fun to read!

    Posted by Julia | May 28, 2013, 10:20 pm
  4. This is WRONG. The smartest month would be March and this is because everyone born in it happens to be gifted. Albert Einstein for example, he had genius IQ and he was born on March 14. Ke$ha was born on March 1 and take a look at her, she told everyone she had genius IQ in high school as well. Christina Grimmie, she’s a total pro at the keyboard and has gained so much fame through YouTube. People born in March are either Pisces or Aries. Pisces is the most gifted sign of all the signs and i’m not just saying that because i’m Pisces and i’m born in March but i’m saying this logically and by the way Pisces people are very logical..it’s in our nature. Pisces is the last of the zodiacs so Pisces contains experience from all aspects of the zodiac signs. Basically their intelligence is a combination of all. It’s even said in the Pisces personality that they are very gifted but these things are all ignored by other people. I’m not saying April is dumb, every month is smart and nobody is dumb. But i’m just saying why I think my month is smart. That’s all, please don’t get offended I am not trying to offend you. :)

    Posted by Christina | August 12, 2013, 6:32 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Dr Stu

Hospital doctor turned lecturer and science communicator, I love trying to answer life's questions - whether it is how our body works or the best way to dunk a biscuit.... Read more...

See Dr Stu's LinkedIn Profile Follow realdoctorstu on Twitter

Brag Tags

SPARKies finalist
Wellcome Trust 2011

My site was nominated for Best Education Blog!

ResearchBlogging.org

Science Mag from Dr Stu:

New Crowdsourced Magazine from Dr Stu

Latest Tweets (@realdoctorstu)

Got a Question?

. Get it Answered Here!
See the website terms and conditions here.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 499 other followers

%d bloggers like this: