Your Future May Be Determined By Your Birth Weight, According To Study

by Kate Ryan

Fat babies are not only cute, but they may demand fatter paychecks later in life, too.

One new study published by JAMA Pediatrics claims to have found a correlation between extremely low birth weights in premature babies and chronic health conditions, lower incomes and lower employment rates once they reach adulthood. When compared to babies born at a healthy weight, premature babies are also more likely to be single as adults, the study reports.

Researchers followed 189 adults born between 1977 and 1982. One hundred of those adults were born prematurely, and weighed less than 1 kg, while the other 89 babies weighed more than 2.5 kg. The study's lead author, Dr. Saroj Saigal of McMaster University in Ontario, told Reuters Health on Tuesday,

We reported their outcomes a decade ago at 24 years of age and at that time they were comparable to (full-term) children, despite the fact that 28 percent had disabilities. Employment and educational parameters were similar.

However, after the group transitioned into adulthood, researchers started to notice some alarming differences. Between the ages of 29 and 36, educational achievements remained about the same between the two groups, but the premature adults experienced lower employment rates. On average, the premature group made $20,000 less per year than the healthy baby weight group.

There's more bad news for premature babies. Apparently, they are more likely to stay virgins into adulthood and remain single compared to kids who stuck around in the womb a little longer. While, "overall the majority were educated, living independently, employed [and] contributing to society," the premature adults seemed not to be "go-getters" quite like the full-term group, says Dr. Saigal.

All that being said, the fact that premature babies have a good chance of survival thanks to modern medicine should leave us feeling grateful they're reaching adulthood in the first place. Even if they are all virgins.

Citations: Your Small Paycheck May Have Been Determined At Birth (Huffington Post)