Researchers See Link between Firstborn and Increased Health Risks


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Researchers in New Zealand are seeing a possible link between being firstborn and having more weight and less sensitivity to insulin thus leading to increased health risks of diabetes and heart disease.

The study was conducted at the University of Auckland and the findings released last Thursday in the Scientific Reports journal.

The study was part of a series of clinical trials to determine if metabolic health could be improved by taking olive leaf extract or krill oil.

Participants were recruited as men in their middle 30s to 50s. Men who were the first or second born in their family were studied further to determine the significance of birth order.

Anyone who already had high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoked was excluded from the study.

Researchers found that even though the participants in the birth order study were approximately the same height, weight readings for the firstborns were significantly higher. Firstborn men averaged around 198 pounds while their younger brothers averaged around 184 pounds.

They also found that insulin sensitivity in firstborn men was 33 per cent lower than their brothers born after them. Lower insulin sensitivity is significant because it can lead to Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

This reduced sensitivity means that the body doesn’t respond correctly to insulin thus leading to metabolic deficiencies which later turn into these serious health problems.

Body fat differences were not significantly different between the firstborns and their younger brothers although the older did have higher. The average was just over 32 percent for firstborns compared to just below 30 percent for younger brothers.

The cause for this link has not been identified as of yet. Researchers at the university theorized that placental blood flow during the mother’s pregnancy with the firstborn might have something to do with it. When the mother is pregnant with her first child, changes take place in the arteries of the uterus. These changes are permanent meaning that the second and subsequent children benefit from them immediately when the pregnancy begins.

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Posted by on Feb 8 2014. Filed under Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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