If your siblings have always annoyed you, a new study might make you grateful for them.
The study, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, shows that people who grow up sans siblings have a more than 50 percent higher risk of being overweight or obese.
According to the study’s authors, only children play outside less often, live in households with lower levels of education more often, are more likely to have televisions in their bedrooms and are more likely to eat sugar.
Surprisingly, those aren’t the only factors at play.
‘Being an only child appears to be a risk factor for overweight independent of the factors we thought might explain the difference,” Monica Hunsberger, a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, who contributed to the study, told Science Daily. Therefore, a follow-up study is being planned.
Even when controlling for other important factors, such as gender, birth weight and parental weight, the study showed a significant correlation between being an only child and being obese.
While I can’t scientifically say my siblings kept me in shape, I do remember lots of summer days playing outside, forest walks in the fall and winters making snow forts. Even now, my sister loves to work out and motivates (read: forces) me to exercise when I’m not feeling up to it. That being said, we also ate (and eat) our fair share of sugar.
What about you? Did your siblings keep you in shape? Does this study ring true for you?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor