February 18, 2013

Birth Order Linked to Increased Risk of Diabetes


birth-orderWho knew? Apparently first-born children have reduced insulin sensitivity and higher daytime blood pressure compared to later-born children. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published the study that presents as the greatest evidence for sibling rivalry ever.

This study was the first ever to demonstrate a 21%  decrease in insulin sensitivity among first-born children in a family. The study did not confirm that being a first-born child increases risk for metabolic or cardiovascular disease, but it does contribute to the comparative risk.

Researchers had evidence that substantiates the observational physical differences between first-born children compared to later-born children. Using this information, the study was designed to assess if birth order would e associated with a change in metabolism in childhood.

The subjects in the study evaluated 85 children, between the ages of 4 to 11 years old. Of the children, 32 were first-born and 53 were later born. All children were measured for height, weight, vitals, and 24 hour glucose and blood pressures.

First-born children were about 3 centimeters taller and slimmer than later-born children. First-born children also had a 27% increase in IGF-1. IGF-1 is the insulin-like growth factor, responsible for growth. It was also observed that first-born children had higher daytime blood pressure, compared to later-born children. Furthermore, first-born children had decreased insulin senility compared to later-born children.

For what it’s worth, being a first-born child isn’t easy, according to my older sister . Okay, but she’s taller and slimmer than I am. My younger sister is healthy as an ox, too. Why does the middle child have T1D in my family? That’s right. It’s not an insulin resistance or a blood pressure thing.

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