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Keywords:

  • restriction;
  • body dissatisfaction;
  • temperature

Abstract

Objective

In eating-disordered populations, restrictive pathologies are associated with a higher rate of births in the spring and early summer. The reasons for this relationship are not understood. The present study of a nonclinical group aimed to determine whether there is a link between being born in warmer months and the level of restrictive pathology in later years.

Methods

The participants (N = 117) were all young adult females who were conceived and born in England. Each completed the relevant scales of the Eating Disorders Inventory and provided demographic information. Temperature at birth was determined using national meteorological records.

Results

Restrictive attitudes were stronger among women born during the warmer part of the year (May–August), and those attitudes were dimensionally associated with temperature at birth. Body dissatisfaction showed some of the same relationships. Neither period of birth nor temperature at birth was related to bulimic attitudes or body mass index.

Conclusions

Being born during warmer months is significantly associated with restrictive eating attitudes among nonclinical females, although the link is relatively weak. Potential causal mechanisms are outlined, but further research is needed to explain this link in clinical and nonclinical groups. © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 30: 204–208, 2001.