File this one under, “really now?”
A small, preliminary study done at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children suggests that the month in which a child is born may affect their odds of becoming celiac.
Before you go about planning your next child, however, let’s take a closer look at the study. It’s worth noting that the study has not yet been published in a peer-review journal or confirmed by other similar studies, according to doctorslounge.com.
Taken at its highest level, the study indicates that children currently younger than 15 and born in the “light months” of March through August are slightly more likely to be celiac.
The study looked at 382 children from Massachusetts, all of whom were previously diagnosed with celiac disease. Amongst children aged 15-19 (of which there were 65), birth season didn’t seem to matter. Amongst the 317 children younger than 15, 57% were born in March through August.
Now, even though there are 12 months in the year, it’s not as if the population is evenly split between them. There are more children born during the summer, especially August – so it’s not surprising that there would be more celiacs born then as well. It’s possible that the study controlled for this, but there’s no discussion about it in the review.
If in fact the study holds up to additional scrutiny, it could point to different guidelines for when gluten is introduced to the diet based on birth month. But, since we don’t actually have concrete, widely-accepted guidelines for when to introduce gluten in the first place, it seems that any sort of meaningful guidance is a few years away.
Let’s just take a little study of our own, shall we? If you yourself are celiac, when were you born? If you have celiac children, or know the birthdays of any other celiacs, when were they born? And are they younger or older than 15?
I’ll go first: September, and older than 15.