Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 91, Issue 9, pp 422–425 | Cite as

Month of birth and life expectancy: role of gender and age in a comparative approach

Short Communication

Abstract

The effects of month of birth (MOB) on life expectancy of a German subpopulation was investigated. Data from people who died in North Rhine Westphalia in the years 1984 (n=188,515) and 1999 (n=188,850) were analyzed. For comparative purposes, all deaths that occurred at an age of <50 years were excluded (1984: 8.4%; 1999: 6.2%). In general, individuals born in May through July had the lowest age at death (1984: 75.27±0.09 years; 1999: 77.58±0.09 years), while those born between October and December had the highest (1984: 75.98±0.08 years; 1999: 78.35±0.09 years), supporting earlier findings. The observed amplitudes (differences between highest and lowest values) were more pronounced in men than in women. When comparing these data of MOB effects on life expectancy with earlier findings in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Ukraine, and the USA, it is evident that a negative correlation exists between the average age at death and the MOB amplitudes. Separate analyses by gender, possible for the data from Germany, the Ukraine, and the USA, revealed a significant negative correlation for men, but not for women. A new hypothesis is therefore presented describing an influence of life quality, as reflected by average life expectancy, on the extent of MOB effects; for example, seasonally variable sensitivities during pregnancy/early childhood.

References

  1. Barker DJ (1995) Fetal origins of coronary heart disease. Br Med J 311:171–174Google Scholar
  2. Barker DJ, Martyn CN, Osmond C, Wield GA (1995) Abnormal liver growth in utero and death from coronary heart disease. Br Med J 310:703–704Google Scholar
  3. Doblhammer G (1999) Longevity and month of birth: evidence from Austria and Denmark. Demogr Res 1. Available at http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol1/3/1-3.pdf
  4. Doblhammer G (2002) Differences in lifespan by month of birth for the United States: the impact of early life events and conditions on late life mortality. MPIDR working paper WP 2002-019Google Scholar
  5. Doblhammer G, Vaupel JW (2001) Lifespan depends on month of birth. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:2934–2939CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fall CH, Osmond C, Barker DJ, Clark PM, Hales CN, Stirling Y, Meade TW (1995a) Fetal and infant growth and cardiovascular risk factors in women. Br Med J 310:428–432Google Scholar
  7. Fall CH, Vijayakumar M, Barker DJ, Osmond C, Duggleby S (1995b) Weight in infancy and prevalence of coronary heart disease in adult life. Br Med J 310:17–19Google Scholar
  8. Huber S, Fieder M, Wallner B, Iber K, Moser G (2004) Effects of season of birth on reproduction in contemporary humans: brief communication. Hum Reprod 19:445–447CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Vaiserman AM, Voitenko VP (2003) Early programming of adult longevity: demographic and experimental studies. J Anti Aging Med 6:11–20CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Vaiserman AM, Collinson AC, Koshel NM, Belaja, II, Voitenko VP (2002) Seasonal programming of adult longevity in Ukraine. Int J Biometeorol 47:49–52CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Vaupel JW, Carey JR, Christensen K, Johnson TE, Yashin AI, Holm NV, Iachine IA, Kannisto V, Khazaeli AA, Liedo P, Longo VD, Zeng Y, Manton KG, Curtsinger JW (1998) Biodemographic trajectories of longevity. Science 280:855–860CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Weber GW, Prossinger H, Seidler H (1998) Height depends on month of birth. Nature 391:754–755CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering and ScienceInternational University BremenBremenGermany

Personalised recommendations