Childhood obesity is a major health risk in many developing and developed countries. Bad dietary habits from the early days or leading a sedentary life from the beginning can have an adverse impact on a child’s Body Mass Index. However, one of the ways, parents inadvertently avoid this is by having a second child.

A recent experiment that tests 697 children across the US showed that having a younger sibling significantly lowered the kids’ risk of becoming a victim of obesity. This is especially true for those who have a younger sibling before pre-school age.

The birth of the second child by the time the first one reaches the first grade aids prevention of obesity and promotes a healthy Body Mass Index. Senior author of the study Julie Lumeng, a pediatrician at University of Michigan is quoted as saying, “Having younger siblings, compared with having older or no siblings, is associated with a lower risk of being overweight.”

What is not clear however is the reason behind this peculiar trend. Pediatricians believe there is a possibility that after the birth of younger one the elder one becomes more active, whether it’s in playing with them or spending time with the little ones. This cuts down sedentary time. There is also possibility that the birth of the second child spurs the parents into introducing dietary changes or making sure both kids are being fed right.

“Better understanding the potential connection between a sibling and weight may help health providers and families create new strategies for helping children grow up healthy,” the author added.

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