I worked in television news for more than a decade. One thing I hated the most was health news. Here’s why: a lot of it seemed drummed up for the media and was so contradictory and seemingly based on skewed statistics and other bizarre data. Chocolate is good for you, chocolate is bad for you. Wine is good for you, wine is bad for you…
This story seems to fall under that category, I mean, what a weird thing to research. Still, I figured I’d pass it on as water cooler fodder as opposed to food for thought, so to speak.
Researchers say babies born in spring are slightly more likely to develop anorexia nervosa, while those born in the autumn have a lower risk.
A report published in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests temperature, sunlight, infection or the mother’s diet could be responsible. The researchers analysed data from four previous studies including 1,293 people with anorexia.
The researchers found an “excess of anorexia nervosa births” between March and June – for every seven anorexia cases expected, there were in fact eight.
There were also fewer than expected cases in September and October.
Dr. Lahiru Handunnetthi, one of the report’s authors, at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, said: “A number of previous studies have found that mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression are more common among those born in the spring – so this finding in anorexia is perhaps not surprising.
The report suggests seasonal changes in temperature, sunlight exposure and vitamin D levels, maternal nutrition and infections as “strong candidate factors”.
Dr. Terence Dovey, from the Centre for Research into Eating Disorders, at Loughborough University, said: “Anorexia is a very complex multifaceted disorder,” adding that the study looked at just one aspect.
“Should we concentrate screening methods to those born in the winter months? No, we should not. It leaves too much error of margin and the potential significant difference is only small.”
So I wouldn’t be too concerned if you gave birth or are due to give birth in the spring. Sounds like another one of those bizarre studies conducted by researchers with a little too much time on their hands. I’m thinking there are much larger and more important factors at play than what month you were born when it comes to eating disorders.
What do you think?
Kids and Food: How can we raise our daughters without eating disorders?