Season of birth and disordered eating in a population-based sample of young U.S. females

Int J Eat Disord. 2011 Nov;44(7):630-8. doi: 10.1002/eat.20864. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


Objective: We used data from a population-based study of 9,039 adolescent and young adult females, followed prospectively since 1996 as part of the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), to examine the relationship between season of birth and disordered eating in the U.S.

Method: We tested whether the distribution of birth season and month differed for participants who had ever reported both underweight and dieting/weight concern symptoms (n = 134) or both frequent bingeing and purging symptoms (n = 77) compared with other GUTS participants.

Results: The two disordered-eating groups had relative birth peaks in the fall and relative birth troughs in the summer compared with other GUTS participants, but only the fall peak was consistently statistically significant.

Discussion: It appears that U.S. females born in the fall are more likely to develop disordered eating and that age relative to the rest of their school-year cohort may account for some of this phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States