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  Younger sibling may be good for child's health: study

Younger sibling may be good for child's health: study

PTI
Published : Mar 11, 2016, 8:26 pm IST
Updated : Mar 11, 2016, 8:26 pm IST

Kids who did not have a sibling were nearly three times more likely to be obese by first grade.

(Photo: Pixabay)
 (Photo: Pixabay)

Kids who did not have a sibling were nearly three times more likely to be obese by first grade.

Washington

: Parents, take note! Becoming a big brother or big sister before first grade may lower a child's risk of becoming obese, a new study suggests. The birth of a sibling, especially when the child was between about 2 and 4 years old, was associated with a healthier body mass index (BMI) by first grade, according to the research.

Children the same age who did not have a sibling were nearly three times more likely to be obese by first grade. "Research suggests that having younger siblings compared with having older or no siblings - is associated with a lower risk of being overweight," said Julie Lumeng from University of Michigan in the US.

"However, we have very little information about how the birth of a sibling may shape obesity risk during childhood," Lumeng said. One possible explanation, researchers speculate, could be that parents may change the way they feed their child once a new sibling is born.

With children developing long-lasting eating habits at around three years old, changing dietary habits may have a significant impact. This study is believed to be the first to track subsequent increases in BMI after a child becomes a big brother or sister.

Researchers also note that children may engage in more "active play" or less sedentary time in front of screens once a younger sibling is born, contributing to healthier BMIs. The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.