Only children are at a higher risk of obesity than children with siblings, reveals a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (November). According to the study conducted by the University of Oklahoma (USA), families with multiple children tend to make better eating decisions than single-child families.
The study examined family nutrition and physical activity data reported by mothers and teachers over a two-week period. Researchers discovered that families of only children reported unhealthy eating practices and beverage choices and that mothers of single children are more likely to be obese themselves. This could be attributed to differences in meal planning and organisation required of mothers with multiple children, says lead author Chelsea Kracht, a researcher at the university’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
“Nutrition professionals must consider the influence of family and siblings to provide appropriate and tailored nutrition education for families of young children. Efforts to help all children and families establish healthy eating habits must be encouraged,” adds Kracht.