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Boy Or Girl? The Answer May Depend On Mom’s Eating Habits

Issue 327
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Food Crisis Worsened By Government’s Decision To Raise Fuel Prices By 43% And Port Service Charges By 25%

Somaliland: New Report Shows Successes & Trials

Draft UN Resolution Calls For UN Political Office In Somalia, Planning For Peacekeeping Force

Somalia/Ethiopia: Deliberate killing of civilians is a war crime

Coleman Tells Somali President Reconciliation Is Key

'They Risk Everything To Escape'

Declining Dollar Hurts Remittance Recipients Abroad

Let Somaliland Be An Independent Country, Int'l Think Tanks Say

France, US Working On UN Draft To Combat Piracy In Somalia

Regional Affairs

Ethiopia Denies Amnesty Mosque Killings Accusation

Somalian Government To Meet Opposition In Djibouti On May 10

No Talk Of Money Yet With Somali Pirates, Spain Says - Summary

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Bush Presses Congress on Economy

Pope appeals for peace in Somalia, Darfur, Burundi

Famed 'Black Hawk Down' pilot works to help others

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Birth In A Nation: African Hospital Founder Describes Conditions

Bin Laden Tycoon Aims To Build Arab-Africa Sea Bridge

Somaliland's 'Path To Recognition'

Boy Or Girl? The Answer May Depend On Mom’s Eating Habits

Separatist Movements - Should Nations Have A Right To Self-Determination?

Regions and territories: Somaliland

Looking At US from "Out There"

Food for thought

Opinions

Luga Yare Del Somal

All Current Somaliland Ills Squarely Rest On The Shoulders Of Its Inept MPs

Where Ali Delivered Others Failed

Wearisome Time For The Emerging Nation Of Somaliland

Hargeisa Airport! The gate to contemptuous corrupted entity

Qassim Sh. Yussuf Ibrahim, Somaliland Minister of Water and Mineral met Somaliland community in Dallas


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By Paul Hilton

London, UK, April 23, 2008 – How much a mother eats at the time of conception may influence whether she gives birth to a boy or a girl, a new report shows.

The report, from researchers at Oxford and the University of Exeter in England, is said to be the first evidence that a child’s sex is associated with a mother’s diet. Although sex is genetically determined by whether sperm from the father supplies an X or Y chromosome, it appears that a mother’s body can favor the successful development of a male or female embryo.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, shows a link between higher energy intake around the time of conception and the birth of sons. The difference is not huge, but it may be enough to help explain the falling birthrate of boys in industrialized countries, including the United States and Britain.

The reason food intake may influence the development of one sex of infant rather than another isn’t fully understood. However, in vitro fertilization studies show that high levels of glucose encourage the growth of male embryos while inhibiting female embryos.

It may be that male embryos are less viable in women who regularly limit food intake, such as skipping breakfast, which is known to depress glucose levels. A low glucose level may be interpreted by the body as indicating poor environmental conditions and low food availability, the researchers said.

The findings are based on a study of 740 first-time pregnant mothers in Britain who didn’t know the sex of their fetus. They provided records of their eating habits before and during the early stages of pregnancy, and researchers analyzed the data based on estimated calorie intake at the time of conception. Among women who ate the most, 56 percent had sons, compared with 45 percent among women who ate the least. As well as consuming more calories, women who had sons were more likely to have eaten a higher quantity and wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12. There was also a strong correlation between women eating breakfast cereals and producing sons.

The data are limited by the fact that they are based on self-reported food intake, which can be unreliable. However, the consistency of the trend offers an explanation for the small but consistent decline in the proportion of boys born in industrialized countries over the last 40 years, where even though women in general appear to be consuming more, eating habits have changed.

In the United States, for instance, the proportion of adults eating breakfast fell from 86 percent to 75 percent between 1965 and 1991. And although women may be eating more overall, a nutrient-poor diet could be less favorable to a male embryo. Glucose levels may also fluctuate in women who are dieting and trying to lose weight prior to pregnancy. In animals, more sons are produced when a mother ranks high in the group or has plentiful food resources.

Source: New York Times

 

 


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