The British Journal of Psychiatry
Season of birth and anorexia nervosa
Giulio Disanto, Adam E. Handel, Andrea E. Para, Sreeram V. Ramagopalan, Lahiru Handunnetthi


Our aim was to investigate whether there is a season-of-birth effect in anorexia nervosa. In a meta-analysis, we compared the distribution of anorexia births (n = 1293) from four independent UK cohorts to that of the general UK population (n = 21 914 037), using both the Walter & Elwood seasonality and chi-squared tests. We found an excess of anorexia births from March to June (odds ratio (OR) = 1.15, 95% CI 1.03-1.29, P = 0.012) and a deficit from September to October (OR = 0.8, 95% CI 0.68-0.94, P = 0.007). These results indicate that environmental risk factor(s) are operative during gestation or immediately after birth and their identification will be important for disease prevention strategies.