Is Having a Younger Sibling Good For You?

Four Siblings

Siblings.  Whether you are the oldest, youngest, or middle, having brothers or sisters to share in life’s journey can be both a blessing and/or a curse.  Sometimes they are lots of fun to have around, and other times, they drive each other mad.   Their bond is undeniably unbreakable.  If just having more love in the family wasn’t enough, a new study suggests that having a younger sibling could bring a health benefit.

A research group at the University of Michigan found that the birth of a brother or sister, optimally when a child was between the ages of two and four was linked with a healthy BMI.  The children that had at least one younger sibling were less likely to be overweight by 1st grade than children without a sibling.  As promising as this study may sound, the researchers could not pinpoint why this is the case. ‘We have very little information about how the birth of a sibling may shape obesity risk during childhood,’ Julie Lumeng, senior study author said.

There is speculation that children with siblings are just moreactive in general.  They engage in more frequent play time and may spend less less time in front of the TV or computer.  In addition, the researchers also suggest that the introduction of another child alters the way parents feed their first child, which if these changes occur between 2 and 4 can have a lasting effect on lifetime eating habits.

‘If the birth of a sibling changes behaviors within a family in ways that protect against obesity, these may be patterns other families can try to create in their own homes,’ told Lumeng.

 

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