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First-Born Children have Higher Risk of High Blood Pressure, Diabetes

Update Date: Feb 12, 2013 06:03 AM EST

If you are the first-born in your family, then according to a new study, you are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes than your siblings. The good news is that you are also likely to be taller and slimmer.

The study from the University of Auckland's Liggins Institute in New Zealand found that being the first-born can raise a person's risk of developing health complication due to reduced ability to absorb sugar and a high blood pressure.

study that was published last year had found a relationship between birth order and ADHD risk. The study had reported that first-born children had twice the ADHD risk when compared to those who were second or third in the birth order.

Another study had shown that children born later in the family had a lower risk of having diabetes type-1.

"Although birth order alone is not a predictor of metabolic or cardiovascular disease, being the first-born child in a family can contribute to a person's overall risk," said Wayne Cutfield from the University of Auckland.

The study was based on a small study group of 85 children between ages 4 and 11 years. The 32 first-borns in the study had an average elevated blood pressure level of 4 mmHg plus a 21 percent decrease in insulin sensitivity.

In many countries, people are opting for fewer children and this trend may increase the risk of these single children developing heart problems, diabetes or having stroke.

study from Japan, published last year, had reported that being a single child increased the risk of the child being overweight while having many siblings meant that the child would be less likely to be thin.

Also, another study from Sweden (2005) found that first-born young children were more likely to have higher scores in early communication skills.

The differences in health complications may be associated with the mother's body coping with the fetus during the first-pregnancy, but knowing how to react during the later pregnancies and increasing the nutrient flow during the next pregnancy,

"Our results indicate first-born 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 in a news release.

The present study is published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

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