Are eating disorders down to luck of the draw?

I don’t know what to make of this article in The Independent, titled People born in spring are ‘more likely’ to become anorexic. according to the article, studies have found that ” schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and suicide are all more common among people who were born during springtime” and adds that “Environmental factors around the time of conception and during the first three months of pregnancy are considered the likely cause, but it is not known which ones are responsible.”

The figures state that babies born in the spring months are 15% more likely to develop anorexia and those born between September and October are 20% less likely to develop the eating disorder. Scientists are suggesting that pre-natal diets could be a cause, especially during the last trimester and they are also looking into the levels of Vitamin D in baby’s bodies, which are at their lowest in the spring months- the last trimester.

This report comes after this one from the BBC, entitled Mother’s Diet during pregnancy alters DNA, which I read with great interest. Eagle-eyed readers of my blog may have noticed one or two posts about dieting and so on. Eating issues run deep with people close to me and I myself have a shady relationship with food at times. When I read the BBC article I have to admit that my heart sunk a little.

The baby didn’t appear as soon as we decided we were ready to have him; in the end my mum told me I needed to start eating properly and bingo! I fell pregnant after five months, one month after I re-introduced carbs into my diet. It may have been coincidence, I’m not sure. The thing is, I know that cutting out a whole food group from my diet isn’t healthy and throughout my entire pregnancy, I ate normally and healthily. The other thing is that a low carb diet appeals to me in more ways than one- I’m not the biggest carbs fan in the first place and  also know that cutting down on them can shift the pounds. The good angel on my shoulder however, reminds me that dieting is a fool’s game and so most of the time I manage to get by like a normal person.

So is there a link to all of this? Well, I’m not sure. I think we all know that whatever you eat whilst pregnant affects your baby, but can we ever really know exactly how and to what extent? How do I know whether my mum ate carbs or had enough Vitamin D whist she was carrying me? How do I know that my eating habits now don’t affect my children? My six year old has already told me she’s fat and I swear that I have never ever spoken about my body complexes in her ear-shot. I have my reasons.

So is is genetics, DNA, environment or just the way things are? Do we blame media, celebrities,  puberty or the massive changes that women go through whilst pregnant? Is it the headlines that scream so and so is back in their jeans two weeks after birth of sextuplets or is it our own everyday inner demons? What is it that makes us so paranoid, self-loathing, self-critical and envious?

Where will it end? Every time an article is published I feel more and more confused. I’m sensible enough to know that these studies don’t tell us the whole picture but I do find it interesting. It seems silly to say that a person born in May is more likely to be anorexic but it also seems silly to disregard the evidence. So what do you think? Are eating disorders, to some extent, down to pure luck of the draw?

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3 responses to “Are eating disorders down to luck of the draw?

  • Lady Estrogen

    There is no way to deny or ignore my genealogy for obsessive eating that has been passed down through my father’s side of the family. My mother tried so hard to shield me from it and instill positive eating habits when I was growing up – and none of it mattered. 😦

  • AB

    Thanks for this, very interesting. I am an october baby and I had anorexia in my teens… so that doesn’t fit the theory. There is no history of any kind of eating disorder anywhere in my family- I don’t think it is genetic at all. None of my 3 siblings have ever had a problem either…. food will always be an issue for me but I am healthy now. My five year old niece wore a t-shirt under the sprinkler with her cousins the other day (they were all naked)- alarm bells rang- will be watching that one closely!

    • ghostwritermummy

      I have to say I know of Spring babies and Autumn/ winter babies so I’m not sure either. There are so many other factors I think play a part too. As you will know, there is so much more to an eating disorder than just feeling fat. Thanks for your comments

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