23 Sep 2011

NZ baby boys better at surviving the winter

3:43 pm on 23 September 2011

Researchers at Victoria University in Wellington have found that baby boys in New Zealand buck international trends and are more likely to survive cold weather.

International research has shown male foetuses are more fragile and therefore less likely to survive in cold weather, than females, resulting in fewer live male births.

An analysis of census data since records began in New Zealand in the 1870s, has found that the gender split is almost equal.

Researchers say that may come down to a lack of temperature extremes, better health care, better nutrition and a less stressful environment, or it may be that male babies are not as delicate in this country as they are in other countries.