High calories intake increases the chances of having a boy

By Stefan Anitei, Science Editor

April 24, Softpedia

There are couples give birth to so many babies they could literally form a football team, and all because of their desire of having a daughter. Others end up with a group of cheerleaders but a boy fails to make himself present. The answer is simpler than thought: a new study carried out at the Universities of Exeter and Oxford shows for the first time the connection between a child's gender and the mother's energy intake around the time of conception.

The 740 subjects were first-time pregnant British mothers in the UK,
unaware of the sex of their fetuses. All subjects were of average weight, health and lifestyle. They completed a questionnaire tracking down their dietary habits before and during the early period of pregnancy. The subjects were assigned into 3 groups, depending on the quantity of daily calories intake around the time when they got pregnant.

56% of the women in the high calories intake group delivered sons, compared to 45% in the lowest calories intake group. Mothers of sons also were more likely to have had a more varied diet, richer in nutrients, like potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12. Women consuming breakfast cereals were also more likely to have sons.

The research comes at a time when industrialized countries have been experiencing a slight but steady decrease, of one per 1000 births annually, in the ratio of newborn boys for the past 40 years. Other studies had shown a decline in the average calories intake in developed countries. The 'obesity epidemic' too is connected to decreased physical activity and junk food consumption. Skipping breakfast, a very negative habit for one's health (proven, oppositely to what many think, to increase bodyweight) is widespread now in developed countries: in the USA, it has boomed from 14% of the adults to 25% in the period between 1965 to 1991.

"This research may help to explain why in developed countries, where many young women choose to have low calorie diets, the proportion of boys born is falling. Here we have evidence of a 'natural' mechanism that means that women appear to be already controlling the sex of their offspring by their diet," said lead author Dr Fiona Mathews of the University of Exeter.

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photo by Ouphysicians