For all climatic regions, mortality due to cold exceeds mortality due to heat. A separate line of research indicates that season of birth predicts lifespan after age 50. This and other literature implies the hypothesis that ambient temperature during gestation may influence cold-related adult mortality. We use data on over 13,500 Swedes from the Uppsala Birth Cohort Study to test whether cold-related mortality in adulthood varies positively with unusually benign ambient temperature during gestation. We linked daily thermometer temperatures in Uppsala, Sweden (1915-2002) to subjects beginning at their estimated date of conception and ending at death or the end of follow-up. We specified a Cox proportional hazards model with time-dependent covariates to analyze the two leading causes of cold-related death in adulthood: ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. Over 540,450 person-years, 1313 IHD and 406 stroke deaths occurred. For a one standard deviation increase in our measure of warm temperatures during gestation, we observe an increased hazard ratio of 1.16 for cold-related IHD death (95% confidence interval: 1.03-1.29). We, however, observe no relation for cold-related stroke mortality. Additional analyses show that birthweight percentile and/or gestational age do not mediate discovered findings. The IHD results indicate that ambient temperature during gestation--independent of birth month--modifies the relation between cold and adult mortality. We encourage longitudinal studies of the adult sequelae of ambient temperature during gestation among populations not sufficiently sheltered from heat or cold waves.
OBJECTIVE: To explore whether the inverse association between birth weight and mortality from circulatory diseases is mediated through blood pressure in men aged 50-75 years. DESIGN: Cohort study with retrospectively collected data on size at birth. SUBJECTS AND SETTING: The study included 1334 men born during 1920-1924, living in Uppsala, Sweden, who were examined at the ages of 50 and 60 years, and followed-up to the end of 1995. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mortality from circulatory diseases based on routine death registration. RESULTS: Birth weight showed a specific, inverse association with mortality from circulatory diseases: the rate ratio was 0.67 (95% confidence interval 0.50 to 0.89) per 1000 g increase in birth weight. This association was not appreciably affected by adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics or smoking, but was strengthened slightly by adjustment for body mass index at the ages of 50 and 60 years. Adjustment for systolic blood pressure at the age of 50 years only slightly reduced the strength of the inverse association between birth weight and mortality from ischaemic heart disease, and did not affect the inverse association between birth weight and mortality from stroke. Adjustments for systolic and diastolic blood pressure and hypertension treatment at the ages of 50 and 60 years did not reduce the strength of the association between birth weight and mortality from circulatory diseases at the age of 60-75 years. CONCLUSIONS: The inverse association between birth weight and mortality from circulatory diseases in men aged 50-75 years is independent of adult sociodemographic characteristics, smoking and adult obesity and does not seem to be mediated through an increased blood pressure in those with low birth weight.