Having A Younger Sibling Helps Your Weight

Posted: Mar 11 2016, 5:59pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Having a Younger Sibling Helps Your Weight
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Your younger siblings might be a little annoying to you, but they can also be extremely healthy.

A longitudinal study tracked around 700 children across the United States and found that kids who didn’t have a sibling by the time they entered first grade were more likely to be obese than children who gained a sibling before that marker. The birth of a sibling a few years into the life of child was associated with a healthier BMI for that older child, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers said that they are not claiming that there is a direct connection, but there is an association, and the findings are going to be studied more.

“The possibility that seems most compelling,” said Dr. Julie Lumeng, a pediatrician at the C.S. Mott Hospital at the University of Michigan and an author on the study, “is that if you have a younger sibling, you’re more likely to run around.”

This simply means that having a sibling encourages you to run around more or engage in active play.

Keith Ayoob, a nutrition expert and associate clinical professor in pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said that it might be family dynamics that determine whether a child develops sound eating habits and a healthy body weight.

“There’s a tendency for parents to constantly feed, whether the child is hungry or not,” he said. “Children can be silenced with food -- and that really ends up leading to a dysfunctional relationship with food. It’s a very quick fix.”

Ayoob also noticed that another problem could be that parents lack patience.

“I think technology has convinced parents, and everybody, that solutions come instantly, and with kids they just don’t,” he said.

Parents have to have both discipline and consistency, not rewarding tantrums. Still you have to make sure that it is the behavior you get mad at, not the child.

Both physicians emphasized the point that no one is recommending having another child just so that you can control your first child's weight. Instead, you should focus more on setting up play dates and promoting healthy habits.

“This study might be a trigger for people to reflect on their family rhythms and what the family dynamic is,” she said. "If there were a younger sibling in the family, how might the rhythms change in a way that might be protective against obesity?”

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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