Birth order determines allergies and IQ, new research suggest

Roz Zurko's picture

The birth order of your child can determine much more about their life such as food allergy risk, than just their temperament, as previously thought. New studies today point to the birth order as a factor that determines problems with health, where the child lands on the IQ scale, along other interesting aspects of their lives.

For years the birth order has given us reasons to believe there is a “middle child syndrome” and has given us some insight of how the “baby of the family” will be different than the other siblings. New studies coming out today point to the birth order as a good template for expecting other experiences, occurrences and similar characteristics across the board, depending where your child falls in the order of birth in your family.

Researchers have found an increased risk of hay fever, food allergies, and seasonal allergies in the oldest child. A scientific explanation is offered for this discovery. Scientist believe that changes in the womb by the time the second and third pregnancy comes along may somehow build up an immunity.

Another reason is that parents tend to go over board with cleanliness for their first child, such as over sterilizing their environment. By the time your second and third child comes along, the over cleanliness tends to fall by the wayside. The first born did not build up as much as an immunity to the everyday germs that they are exposed to, due to the hyper sterilization of their surroundings. This creates the foundation for the allergies to food and things in their environment. The more you are exposed to an allergen the more immune you become to it. The first born child tends to lose out on some of this immunity.

According to Frank Sulloway, from the University of California, Berkley, the first born also tends to have an IQ 3 points higher than the second born and 4 points higher than a third born child. Sulloway appeared on ABC News this morning and explained that the first born is an the only child in the household for some time, and all the parents attention goes to this child. The parents do not have other children yet to share in their time.

Later in childhood, the oldest child has a bigger sense of leadership and responsibility. For a reference on how the birth order can affect a leadership role, ABC News reports that 21 of the first 23 astronauts were first born children. This is also true when it comes to US Presidents and Big Business CEO’s.

A disproportionate amount of Presidents and CEO’s were first born. 43% of the CEO’s for some of the nations biggest businesses were first born. 33% were middle children, with 23 % the youngest in the birth order of their family.

ABC News says this would explain the differences between former President Jimmy Carter, the oldest and his brother Billy Carter, you is younger than the former President. The same goes for former President Clinton and his brother, Roger Clinton. Both these former President’s brothers have made news for their antics in the past.

Younger siblings have to do things to gain more attention, they take more risks, and many become rebels to some extent. The younger siblings also tend to be more creative.

Ben Franklyn was the youngest of 17 kids, this would explain his creativity. The youngest also tend to take more risks by participating in more of the dangerous sports, reports ABC News.

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