Only children may be at a higher risk for obesity than children who have siblings, according to a new study published Wednesday, November 6, CNN reports.
The study looked at the eating habits and body weight of only children -- called "singletons" by researchers -- and found they had less healthy eating habits and beverage choices than families with multiple children.
While the sample size was small and the study could not establish cause and effect, it does "raise an interesting point that we need to better understand," said pediatrician Dr. Natalie Muth, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity.
"Several studies in addition to this one have shown that only children are more likely to be overweight or obese," said Muth, who was not involved in the study.
"Why is that? While this study doesn't provide the answer to that question, it is helpful in building the body of research that eventually will provide clearer answers," Muth said.
Singletons have long fascinated researchers. Early studies focused on the many negatives society falsely believed about only children, like the idea that a child would become headstrong, selfish, egocentric, competitive, excessively spoiled and unable to share if raised by themselves. Or, that most would likely turn into self-absorbed hypochondriacs.