Does The Month You Were Born In
Influence Your Future Health and Fitness?
The month of your birth influences your chances of becoming a professional
sportsperson, an Australian researcher has found.
Senior research fellow Dr. Adrian Barnett from Queensland University
of Technologys Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
studies the seasonal patterns of population health and found the
month you were born in could influence your future health and
fitness. The results of the study are published in the Springer
book Analysing Seasonal Health Data¹, by Barnett, co-authored
by researcher Professor Annette Dobson from the University of
Barnett analysed the birthdays of professional Australian Football
League (AFL) players and found a disproportionate number had their
birthdays in the early months of the year, while many fewer were
born in the later months, especially December.
The Australian school year begins in January. Children
who are taller have an obvious advantage when playing the football
code of AFL, Dr. Barnett said. If you were born in
January, you have almost 12 months growth ahead of your
classmates born late in the year, so whether you were born on
December 31st or January 1st could have a huge effect on your
Dr. Barnett found there were 33 percent more professional AFL
players than expected with birthdays in January and 25 percent
fewer in December. He said the results mirrored other international
studies which found a link between being born near the start of
school year and the chances of becoming a professional player
in the sports of ice hockey, football, volleyball and basketball.
Research in the UK shows those born at the start of the
school year also do better academically and have more confidence,
he said. And with physical activity being so important,
it could also mean smaller children get disheartened and play
less sport. If smaller children are missing out on sporting activity
then this has potentially serious consequences for their health
Dr. Barnett said this seasonal pattern could also result in wasted
talent, with potential sports stars not being identified because
they were competing against children who were much more physically
advanced than them. He said a possible solution was for one of
the sporting codes in Australia to change the team entry date
from January 1st to July 1st.
February 3, 2010