Parents who conceive during winter are more likely to produce skinny children.

Scientists have linked cold weather conception to larger amounts of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in both mice and humans, according to findings published in Nature Medicine.

Only small amounts of the calorie-burning brown fat are found in human adults, mainly under the tongue, around the collar bone and along the spine.

Unlike white fat, which is linked to illness including heart disease and cancer, BAT burns calories by generating heat.

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“Taken together, our results indicate that in humans and in mice, seasonal or experimental CE induces an epigenetic programming of the sperm such that the offspring harbour hyperactive BAT and an improved adaptation to overnutrition and hypothermia,” the study concluded.

Swiss scientists analysed CT scans of 8400 adults and compared those conceived during the cooler months to those born in the warmer months.

They found the first group had a greater amount of brown fat than the second lot.

Professor Christian Wolfrum at Zurich’s ETH university who led the research said that previous research has found that people in cold regions have particularly high levels of BAT.

Professor Wolfrum said: “Until now, the assumption was that this had something to do with the temperatures people experienced during their lifetime.

“But our observations suggest that temperatures prior to conception might also affect later levels of brown fat.”

Share your comments below.

  • Was it necessary to use CT Scans to come to that decision? Surely they could have just got records of birth month, length and weight.


  • I think some of these ‘studies’ are a bit ridiculous.


  • What a strange study to have.


  • Hmm very interesting


  • I must have been a summer baby then. This study is just a waste of taxpayers money. Instead of studying this, how about putting more studytime into curing deadly diseases?


  • Um, the fact that I had a 4.08kg baby doesn’t really fit this mould or study. I’m always susceptible of the pool from which studies are taken.


  • I’m sure the fact that I have a child with an Eating Disorder has nothing to do with when she was conceived.


  • Interesting – looks as though Aussie kids will not get this benefit as it’s too warm here all the time.


  • A study that will no doubt interest those interested in body mass studies.

    • The link is for the Abstract – it would be good to know the country/countries and the numbers including the genders involved in the study – more information would be useful as the study indicates…might?


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