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Sporting Success Can Have Demographic Repercussions

Spain saw a significant uptick in births nine months following a major soccer victory

TUESDAY, Dec. 24, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Human emotions on a large scale, such as the euphoria following a soccer victory, can have demographic repercussions, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in BMJ.

Noting that the media reported a 45 percent increase in the number of births nine months following a goal that put Football Club Barcelona into the UEFA Champions League final on May 6, 2009, Jesus Montesinos, from Universitaria de Manresa in Spain, and colleagues used time-series analyses to determine whether the observed changes were significant. The researchers investigated births in the counties of Solsones and Bages during February 2010 compared with a control period from Jan. 1, 2007, to Dec. 31, 2011.

The researchers found that the average number of births per month was 183.3, with a slight decrease in trend after mid-2010. For both February and March 2010 there was an increase in maximum births, compared with other years. The percentage increment in births was 16.1 percent in February 2010 and 11.0 percent in March 2010.

"Our results show a transitory and significant 16 percent increase in births in February 2010, nine months after Football Club Barcelona's exciting victories in May 2009 -- far short of the 45 percent increase reported by the media," the authors write. "The heightened euphoria following a victory can cultivate hedonic sensations that result in intimate celebrations, of which unplanned births may be a consequence."

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