Washington: A new study has revealed that kids born in years with a lot of sunshine have a higher probability of dying compared to children who were born in the years with less solar activity, and that means fewer grandchildren.
The study at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found that on average, the lifespan of children born in years that had a great deal of solar activity was 5.2 years shorter than other children and the largest difference was in the probability of dying during the first two years of life.
This finding, which shows that increased UV radiation during years of high solar activity had an effect across generations, also found that children who were born in years with lots of sunshine and who survived were also likelier to have fewer children, who in turn gave birth to fewer children than others.
Researcher Gine Roll Skjaervoe used information on the number of sunspots as an indication of the amount of UV radiation in a given year and found that the number of sunspots reaches a maximum every 11 years on average, which results in more UV radiation on Earth during years with high sunspot and solar activity.
UV radiation can have positive effects on human vitamin D levels, but it can also result in a reduction of vitamin B9 (folate). It is known that low folate levels during pregnancy are linked to higher child mortality.
The study showed that families from the lowest socio-economic groups were most affected by UV radiation.
Both climate change and variability in the ozone layer are expected to increase the amount of UV radiation reaching the Earth in the future. At the same time, there have been many societal changes since the 1900s.
Skjaervoe added that there are probably many factors that come into play, but they have measured a long-term effect over generations.
Skjaervoe concluded that one should not sunbathe if she is pregnant and want to have a lot of grandchildren.