23 April 2008

Want a baby boy? Eat breakfast.

And more useless information from the people who study things:

According to a new British study, pregnant women that eat breakfast (and cereal in particular) around the time of conception are more likely to have a boy. Those women that consume less calories and skip breakfast are more likely to have a girl.

Argh. Bad, bad science.

I don't know about you, but I was always under the impression that sex was determined by sperm..so how in the world caloric intake affects this process is beyond me. Moreover, the methodology of the study is also highly unreliable. The research had 740 women keep a food diary before and after falling pregnant. They were then split into groups according to caloric intake. Self-report is a highly problematic methodology especially when it comes to women and food, a very sensitive and culturally meaningful issue. Let's face it. Informants lie about lots of things and it is very possible that the women who were in the lowest calorie group were purposely underreporting their intake.

I'm particularly troubled by the suggestion by one of the researchers that this information "could be of help to women wanting to balance their families." Right. And why might this logic lead to very bad things? As it has occurred throughout history and through to the present (Hello, China!?), such a proposition implies that girl babies are usually less desirable and now women will think that they can control sex through food. Ridiculous.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=561384&in_page_id=1774

1 comment:

Midwifery is catching said...

So *not* defending this spectacularly crap research (I also looked at it and thought "ok so those % look awfully like chance, and in a small cohort like this, is it even statistically relevant??" but I digress) but - there is a lot of evidence about the female imprinting on her eggs and having influence over lots of things, and given that the researchers seemed confused about the difference between calories and nutriets... it is possible that the mother's diet does influence the success of the smaller male-destined sperm in reaching the egg, or the larger female-destined sperms.

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