Why firstborns may be at greater risk of diabetes
Being the oldest kid in the family may have some privileges but might carry some risks too.
Researchers in New Zealand found that firstborn children have a better chance of developing Type-2 diabetes than their younger siblings. The report was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Measuring weight, height, blood sugar levels and more, the study looked at 85 healthy kids between the ages of 4 and 11. Thirty two of those children were firstborns and were found to have a 21 percent dip in insulin sensitivity compared to non-firstborns. They also had higher blood pressure overall.
Scientists think the disparity might be linked to physical changes in the mother’s uterus during her first pregnancy. The flow of nutrients to the unborn children may be greater in second and third pregnancies than in the first.
“Although birth order alone is not a predictor of metabolic or cardiovascular disease, being the firstborn child in a family can contribute to a person’s overall risk,” said researcher Wayne Cutfield, of the University of Auckland, in a statement.
The study’s authors said this is just a first step in understanding the connection.
“Our results indicate firstborn children have these risk factors, but more research is needed to determine how that translates into adult cases of diabetes, hypertension and other conditions,” Cutfield said.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), nearly 26 million adults and children, about 8 percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes. An estimated 7 million more people have it, but have not yet been diagnosed. And 79 million more people are considered pre-diabetic.
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