Attention parents of singletons! According to a recent study, children without siblings (also known as only children) are seven times more likely to be obese than those who do have siblings.
The study, conducted by the University of Oklahoma, goes on to describe the pattern of unhealthy eating and drinking choices found in families of only children. These behaviors led to the children’s ongoing indulgence in high-calorie foods and sugary drinks.
Only Children More Likely to Be Obese Than Children with Siblings
Results also showed that only children ranked lower on the Healthy Eating Index than those who have siblings.
So how was this determination made? Researchers asked 62 mothers, with children between the ages of five and seven, to complete a daily food log over the course of three days. The mothers also submitted a questionnaire evaluating the overall family eating habits and levels of physical activity.
Furthermore, the study also revealed that an only child’s eating habits at home had a greater impact on obesity than their food choices made at school.
The study’s lead author Chelsea L. Kracht used the findings to encourage families and nutrition professionals to “consider the influence of family and siblings to provide appropriate and tailored nutrition education for families of young children.”
While the study does offer interesting insight into the habits of those with one versus multiple children, it cannot be touted as representative of all families due to the small sample size.
Katie Nave Freeman is freelance writer, producer, and mama living in Brooklyn, New York. Driven by her passion for storytelling, she is always seeking opportunities to elevate people who are working to better the world around them.