Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Season of birth predicts mortality in rural Gambia

Naturevolume 388page434 (1997) | Download Citation

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Abstract

We present evidence that events in early life strongly influence the adult survival prospects of rural Africans. Our analysis of births and deaths in three Gambian villages dating back to 1949 shows that people born during the annual ‘hungry season’ are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely in young adulthood. A permanent effect of malnutrition on the development of the immune system during fetal growth seems a likely explanation.

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Affiliations

  1. MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2DH, UK

    • Sophie E. Moore
    • , Timothy J. Cole
    • , Elizabeth M. E. Poskitt
    • , Bakary J. Sonko
    • , Roger G. Whitehead
    • , Ian A. McGregor
    •  & Andrew M. Prentice
  2. MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit, PO Box 273, Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa

    • Sophie E. Moore
    • , Timothy J. Cole
    • , Elizabeth M. E. Poskitt
    • , Bakary J. Sonko
    • , Roger G. Whitehead
    • , Ian A. McGregor
    •  & Andrew M. Prentice

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https://doi.org/10.1038/41245

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