Published on September 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM
By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Being born in a certain month appears to indicate the statistical likelihood of what job a person will end up with, the study by the UK’s Office for National Statistics has found.
A team of researchers have found that the birth month could also affect everything from intelligence to length of life. They find that a child born December is more likely to become a dentist while someone whose birthday falls in January will tend to a debt collector. A February birth appears to increase the chances of being an artist while March babies appear to go on to become pilots. Meanwhile, April and May are said to have a fairly even spread of professions, births in the summer months mean a much lower chance of becoming a high-earning football player, doctor or dentist.
The researchers for the study analyzed the birth months of people in 19 separate occupations using information from the last census.
Although these trends may be difficult to explain, correlations between birth months and specific health problems have a scientific basis. Spring babies are at greater risk of illnesses including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and autism. They may also be less clever than classmates born in other parts of the year.
Research has suggested many of the differences are linked to a mother’s exposure to sunlight in pregnancy. Sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in the body and lack of this in the first months of life may have long-lasting effects.
Speaking earlier this year, Russell Foster, an Oxford University neuroscientist, said the effects were small “but they are very, very clear”. “I am not giving voice to astrology – it’s nonsense – but we are not immune to seasonal interference…It seems absurd the month in which you are born can affect life chances, but how long you live, how tall you are, how well you do at school, your body mass index as an adult, your morning-versus-evening preference and how likely you are to develop a range of diseases are all correlated to some extent with the time of year in which you emerge from the womb,” he said.