What decides about life expectancy

The month of birth determines the lifespan

It has long been assumed that the first stages of our life have particularly lasting effects on a large number of events in our further lives. This probably also affects the health risks of developing high blood pressure, a heart attack, or a stroke. Scientists from Greifswald have now made an amazing discovery in this context.


When analyzing more than six million deaths between 1992 and 2007 in Germany that could be traced back to cardiovascular diseases, they were able to establish a connection between age and the season of birth.

November children get older

Women born in November lived an average of 7.3 months older than women born in May, according to a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Men born in November were even 11.7 months older than those born in May.

According to the researchers, this dependency was astonishingly evident in all analyzed subgroups, for example in northern and southern federal states, in federal states with high life expectancy and relatively low life expectancy, as well as in rural areas and in large cities.

Many possible influencing factors

"We can currently only speculate about the factors that exert such a formative influence on the cardiovascular risk in our first months of life before or after birth," said Dr. Thorsten Reffelmann from the University of Greifswald.

“In addition to meteorological data or exposure to sunlight, many other influencing variables are also conceivable. Food supply and eating habits during pregnancy, air pollution or infectious diseases over the course of a year or the extent of physical activity, which is also subject to seasonal fluctuations. "

Big challenge

The identification of these influencing variables, according to the scientists in the Greifswald Cardiology department headed by Professor Stephan Felix, represents a great challenge, but could become of outstanding importance in cardiovascular and preventive medicine.

The analyzes for the new study were carried out by the Clinic for Internal Medicine B in close cooperation with the Federal Statistical Office and the research data center in the State Statistical Office of the Free State of Saxony.

(University of Greifswald, March 18, 2011 - DLO)

March 18, 2011