By Markham Heid
Fun fact: firstborns are natural born leaders. More than half of US Presidents were firstborns.
Not so fun fact: being first out may also increase your risk for diabetes and high blood pressure, according to new research from the University of Auckland.
Researchers monitored the blood pressure and glucose absorption rates of 85 children. Insulin sensitivity—a major risk factor for diabetes—dropped 21 percent among firstborns compared to later-borns, the study found. The "oldest" also suffered from higher blood pressure, which could eventually develop into hypertension, according to the researchers.
Studies show a mother’s placenta, which provides a developing fetus with nutrients, may not work quite as well during first pregnancies, explains study author Wayne Cutfield, a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Auckland.
But you’re not doomed if you’re the oldest—Cutfield says proven risk factors like poor diet or cigarette smoking also play major roles. Still, this news kind of sucks for firstborns.
The Good News
If you can dodge the diabetes and hypertension, the study found firstborns tend to be taller and slimmer than their siblings.