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Column: Winter-born babies: Destined for success, or just a big head?

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Column: Winter-born babies: Destined for success, or just a big head?
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

It's been a little baby-crazy around the Focus office lately.

Three staff members, me included, were waiting for babies over the holidays. My sister finally had a baby girl on Dec. 17 after being dilated to 5 centimeters for more than a week. One of my coworker's daughters was also expecting a baby over Christmas and she was still waiting as of last week. Then the news editor was patiently waiting for the Perham New Year's baby to be born a week after ringing in 2011.


That got me thinking about being born in the winter. Capricorns like me have been known to be stubborn... guilty. I was born two weeks after my due date. It's maybe no surprise that these babies took their own sweet time being born. It also got me thinking about how babies born in winter fare against others in the long run.

For centuries astrologers have sworn that the time of year a baby is born plots the course their life will take.

I did some online research and found various theories and studies on the question.

I found two vastly different results of studies conducted by two of the country's top universities. Research conducted by Harvard University over a seven-year period, with results released in 2006, appears to prove that babies born in the winter are more likely to grow into big, bright and successful adults than their summer counterparts.

However, a 2008 study at the University of Notre Dame found that on average, winter babies grow up to be less educated, less intelligent, less healthy and lower paid than people born in the spring, summer or fall.

Other theories:

1. The season of birth can influence whether a person is an optimist or pessimist. Yet it is the summer's babies that have a brighter outlook than winter-born grumblers.

2. Professor Jayanti Chotai, of Umea University in Sweden, has shown people born in winter are less likely to seek out novel experiences.

3. Diana Pidwell, a clinical psychologist in Blackpool, England said there had been research showing a connection between the time of year a person is born and what they choose to do for a living. The connection might be due to summer babies being around happier people and being taken outside into sunlight while winter babies are kept indoors.

5. Results of a study conducted in England, launched at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in 2004 showed that those born in warmer months were more likely to consider themselves lucky. Professor Richard Wiseman, who conducted the study, added: "The good news for winter-borns is that people can improve their luck by being more optimistic and making the most of the opportunities that come their way."

4. Compared to summer births, those born in winter were significantly longer at birth, and were heavier, taller and had larger head circumference at age 7. They also had higher scores in a series of intelligence exercises.

Needless to say there are both perks and negatives to being born in winter. Not sure where the bigger head part falls on that spectrum... Even though I'd like to think the Harvard theory is the truest, I ultimately think it really doesn't matter what time of year you are born. Success comes from hard work, perseverance and heart. Professor Wiseman is right; it's all in the way you look at it.

I like my birthday, Jan. 6 or Epiphany, also the documented birthday of Saint Joan of Arc. Other notable winter-borns include Oprah Winfrey, Elvis Presley, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Walt Disney, Jane Austen, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Howard Hughes, Sir Isaac Newton, David Bowie, Martin Luther King Jr., Charles Lindberg, Abraham Lincoln and Johnny Cash.

I'm in good company.