A new study at the University of Auckland in New Zealand suggests that first-born girls are more likely to have weight problems than their younger sisters. According to the researchers, the oldest sister had a 29 percent greater chance of being overweight and a 40 percent greater chance of being obese than their younger sisters. Lead researcher Dr. Wayne Cutfield, a professor of pediatric endocrinology, says there are several health risk factors tied to being a firstborn girl, including the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. While he can’t draw definitive conclusions on cause and effect, he believes these risks could be associated with narrower blood vessels in the first pregnancy, which leads to a decreased amount of the mother’s blood reaching the placenta. Nevertheless, living a healthy lifestyle remains by far the most important factor to avoid these health risks. “I don’t want firstborns to think they will become obese or get diabetes or high blood pressure,” Cutfield said. “It is a risk factor, and the risk of getting a disease is a combination of risk factors, not just a single risk factor.”
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