Girls Born in Summer Healthier than Those Born in Winter

December 19, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. database /ˈdeɪ təˌbeɪs/ (n.) – a collection of information arranged for easy use
Example: The researchers created a database for their potential participants.

2. exposure /ɪkˈspoʊ ʒər/ (n.) – the state of experiencing or being affected by something
ExampleExposure to violent movies is not good for children.

3. hypothesis /haɪˈpɒθ ə sɪs/ (n.) – an idea that needs to be proven
Example: The researchers tested the hypothesis.

4. assert /əˈsɜrt/ (v.) – to strongly say something
Example: He asserted his opinion in front of the professors.

5. manifest /ˈmæn əˌfɛst/ (v.) – to be seen or observed
Example: Their politeness manifests in the way they talk.


Read the text below.
The season during which a girl is born has a direct relationship with birth weight, height, and puberty timing.

A study published on the journal Heliyon reveals that girls born during the summer months of June, July, and August are heavier and taller than those who were born during the winter months of December, January, and February. Findings were based on data collected from 450,000 men and women by the UK Biobank project, an initiative to create a database tracking health and disease trends across the country.

One explanation that the researchers came up with is that mothers of summer-born babies receive more sunlight than mothers of babies born in other seasons. According to experts, exposure to sunlight can assist the body in producing vitamin D, which helps in bone development and contributes to good health. A mother’s exposure to vitamin D during pregnancy affects her baby’s vitamin D exposure. This may explain why females born in hotter months have greater weight and height than those born in colder months.

Results also show that the menstruation of girls born in summer started later than those born in winter months, another indicator of good health. With this in mind, scientists believe that girls born in summer months have better health later in life compared to those who reached puberty at an early age.

The study’s findings support the fetal programming hypothesis. This idea asserts that, aside from genetic factors, environmental factors also affect the development of an embryo or fetus. Effects of these environmental factors, according to the hypothesis, manifest later in life.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think will be the benefit of this study to the general public?
·         Do you believe that environmental factors can greatly affect a child’s health later in life? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Aside from health, do you believe that a person’ birth month can also affect personality? Why or why not?
·         How can we ensure good health among babies as they grow? 

December 19, 2015