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Siblings may have a greater influence than parents on a child's obesity risk
Date:7/8/2014

hild, having an obese parent was associated with more than double the risk that the child would be obese, although that risk was reduced if high levels of physical activity were reported for the child. In two-child families, having an obese sibling was associated with risk that was more than five times greater than if the sibling were not obese. While the impact of parental obesity on an older sibling was the same as on an only child approximately doubling the risk among younger siblings there was no association with parental obesity.

In addition, if the two children in a family were of the same gender, an older sibling's obesity had an even stronger association with obesity in the younger sibling 8.6 times greater for girls and 11.4 times greater for boys. Of other demographic, socioeconomic and behavioral factors analyzed including the number of fast food meals consumed weekly the only one that significantly changed the impact of a sibling's obesity was the level of physical activity.

"Younger children look up to their big brother or sister for behavioral cues, often seeking their approval; and siblings may spend more time each other than with their parents, often eating and playing sports together," says Pachucki, who is also a member of the division of General Academic Pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and an instructor in Medicine and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "While this study doesn't allow us to say that one sibling's obesity directly influences the other's, the associations we found are pretty interesting. Now we need to try and replicate these analyses with other national datasets and think through how to use this information to improve family-based health intervention models."


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Contact: Kory Zhao
kzhao2@partners.org
617-726-0274
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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