Month of birth determines our risks for heart disease: benefits for December children

Month of birth determines our risks for heart disease: benefits for December children

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Month of birth partly influences the risk of heart disease

According to a new study, not only the zodiac sign is determined by the date of birth. Apparently there is a fundamental risk of later heart disease depending on the month in which someone was born. Accordingly, people born in December are at lower risk for heart disease than people born between March and July.

People born in the fall or winter appear to be generally less at risk of heart disease than people born in the spring or summer. Scientists report this in the current Christmas edition of the renowned health journal "The BMJ".

What are the effects of the month of birth?

But why does the month of birth influence the later risk of developing cardiovascular disease? The exact causes of this relationship are not yet known. The researchers assume that seasonal fluctuations during pregnancy are responsible for the effect. This influences, for example, the diet and the availability of sunlight.

Results from long-term study

In 1976, 116,911 nurses in the United States were recruited for a long-term study. At the start of the study, the women were between 30 and 55 years old. The participants had to fill out questionnaires about their health every two years. Between 1976 and 2014, 43,248 deaths occurred among the test subjects. 8,360 deaths were related to heart disease.

The research team used the available data to evaluate the relationships between month of birth, time of birth, all-cause mortality and cardiovascular diseases. The researchers also determined the role of family and socio-economic factors in this context.

Month of birth and risk of heart disease

In the analyzes, there was a significant correlation between the month of birth and the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. For example, women born from March to July were at higher risk of dying from heart disease than those born in November or December.

According to observations, women born in April had the highest mortality rate for cardiovascular diseases, and those born in December had the lowest risk. The relative risk difference between the lowest and the highest risk months was ten percent.

Previous studies have come to similar conclusions

As the researchers report, the seasonal birth month effect has been consistently observed in previous studies. Family and socio-economic factors seem to play a subordinate role here. Likewise, the month of birth does not seem to have any effect on all-cause mortality, but only on mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Yin Zhang, Elizabeth E. Devore, Susanne Strohmaier, u.a .: Birth month, birth season, and overall and cardiovascular disease mortality in US women: prospective cohort study, BMJ, 2019,

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