This study aimed to examine the association of birth order and number and sex of siblings with overweight or obesity among 4- to 8-year-olds.Methods:
This is a cross-sectional study involving 273 low-income mother–child dyads. Questionnaires and anthropometry were completed. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the association of birth order, having younger siblings, having older siblings, having at least one brother and having at least one sister with odds of overweight or obesity. Analyses were repeated to additionally include non-biological siblings. Models were adjusted for potential confounders and intermediate variables.Results:
Prevalence of child overweight or obesity was 42.5%. Adjusting for covariates, only children and youngest siblings had higher odds of overweight or obesity compared with oldest siblings (odds ratio [OR]: 4.18, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.67, 10.46 and OR: 3.21, 95% CI: 1.41, 7.33, respectively). Having one or more younger siblings and having at least one brother were associated with lower odds (OR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.21, 0.69 and OR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.28, 0.81, respectively). Including non-biological siblings did not meaningfully change the associations.Conclusion:
Birth order and sibship composition are associated with overweight or obesity among 4- to 8-year-olds. Future studies identifying the underlying behavioural mechanism can help inform family-based intervention programmes.