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Firstborns Gain Weight Faster, Up Risk

Posted - Mar. 27, 2004 at 5:20 p.m.



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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Mar 27, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Firstborn children, born smaller than average, grow faster because they are lavished with attention, a New Zealand study found.

The Liggins Institute at Auckland University said the earlier weight gain makes the firstborns more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease later in life, the Wellington Dominion reported.

Researcher Susan Morton based her findings on a long-term study of all 15,000 children ages 7 to 12 at primary schools in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1962. She traced the birth records and contacted 99 percent of the subjects in a questionnaire in 2001.

"Small size is associated with chronic cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and the markers that go with those," she said.

The first born children were heavier by the time they reached school age -- the opposite effect occurred with later children. Those born heavier were thinner than average by the time they reached school.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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