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Only children are more likely to be obese, says the study

The study looked at the eating habits and body weight of only children – referred to by researchers as "single buttons" – and found that they had less healthy eating habits and drink choices than families with many children.

While the sample size was small and the study could not identify cause and effect, it "raises an interesting point that we need to understand better," said pediatrician Dr. Natalie Mut, who is chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics in the obesity department.

"Several studies in addition show that only children are more likely to be overweight or obese," says Mut, who did not participate in the study.

"Why is that? While this study does not answer this question, it is useful to build research that will ultimately provide clearer answers," Mut said.

What It Means To Be "Only"

Singletons have long fascinated researchers. Early studies focused on the many negatives of society, mistakenly believing only children, the idea that a child would become firm, selfish, self-centered, competitive, excessively spoiled and unable to share if raised by himself. Or it would most likely become self-absorbed hypochondriacs.

"Many people accept that only children are defective and so many studies of achievement and personality have been done," says Tony Falbo, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin who has been researching singletons since 1


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In 1986, Falbo meta-analyzed 200 studies of children only and found that they differed in achievement, intelligence and character on children with siblings – especially those with older siblings or sisters.

"On average, only children receive more education and they score higher on various achievement tests," Falbo said. "In terms of personality, they are doing well. They have relatively positive personalities and are not more prone to mental illness than any other."

The only difference her analysis found was that singles seemed to have stronger relationships with their parents than children with siblings, a finding that was later supported by a 2018 survey of 10,000 German 2018 students

Obesity link

In the last few decades, however, studies in Europe and China have begun to look for a link between weight gain and being a single child; some also looked at the birth order.
One child policy in China between 1980 and 2016 gave researchers a gold mine of data. For example, a study of nearly 20,000 Chinese singles who found only sons in urban China was 36% more likely to be overweight and 43% more likely to be obese than sons who have siblings.
Other studies found to be one or a born child have been linked to obesity, possibly because of the way parents behaved while eating: less praise, more association with food as a reward, and more negative control over food choices. [19659003] In the present study, researchers found that mothers of only children were more likely to be overweight on their own. Could the results of this study be simply due to the fact that the parent has undergone poor eating habits or a genetic tendency for obesity?

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"We know that obesity is very strongly linked in families, so it is certainly possible to explain the difference in this study," Mut says.

However, lead author Chelsea Kraht, a researcher at the Biomedical Research Center at Pennington at the University of Louisiana, believes the results can be explained by the differences in planning and organization required by mothers with many children.

"With many kids, you plan a little more than your meal. So we will have more food at home. We will probably have less fast food," Kracht said in an interview with R. magazine on nutrition and behavior.

Mut offered several other options. "There may be more food to go around. Or that they're less active because they don't have a partner to play with. Or maybe there's a biological factor in the game," Mut said. "It's hard to say for sure, but it's a question that researchers are trying to clarify."

Falbo is currently researching adolescents in unfamilies and finds that they spend more time on screens, which diminishes their ability to be active.

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"They don't bump the siblings and they jump up and down and do the kinds of things that the siblings do," she said.

"My research also shows that they are more likely to eat fast foods often," Falbo says. "With respect to the entire research area of ​​obesity, the more home-cooked meals you eat, as opposed to eating fast food, the less likely you are to have a high body mass index."

The good news, Falbo says, is that this behavior is correctable. "You have to reduce screen time [and] to control the amount of fast food. That's doable," she said.

Muth agrees: "While we do not understand all the ins and outs of why, we know that there is a significantly increased risk of childhood overweight and obesity only for children.

" The parents of only children who are familiar with this increased risk may be able to prevent overweight or obesity in their child by paying extra attention to creating a healthy and active home environment, "she said.

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