Birth order and Spacing

Brain tumor according to researches is dependent on birth order. Researches show that last borns are more affected that first borns and that the disease prevalence depends on the number of children in a family so, the bigger the number the higher the chances. The size of the family could also affect the health of the siblings. As per the NYU School of Medicine’s research; children from big families have higher chances of suffering from stomach cancer. It is said that second borns and later children are more likely to suffer from this disease.

The findings were got from research that was conducted on Japanese Americans for a period of about 28 years. It was noted that people with bacterium that causes stomach cancer were from big families that is those with seven and over siblings. This bacterium according to the researchers is inherent in older children but it is then transferred to the later ones who have not yet fully developed their immune systems. What happens is that this bacterium become genetically adapted thus having a head against younger siblings. Again, health cost is dependent of family size.

The bigger the family the harder it is to provide health care especially if the family is not well up. Children should get health care that they deserve but this is not what happens in most families as more and more children are born, health cost becomes a problem depending on the financial capabilities of the family. (Stearns, 1999) As good health is intertwined with good education, poor big families cannot afford to educate their children. These children become less informed on how they should take care of their health.

Again because meeting health care cost is a problem to them, morbidity and mortality rate goes up. The reason that is cited behind this is that parents with large families are less likely to invest their meager resources in financing health care for their children. Researches have shown that preventive health services are well utilized by small families for the simple reason that they can afford it but big families only wait for sickness to appear so that it can be treated. It is said that children from larger families have higher maturity and slow growth rate.

Thus it is clear how family size affects ones health though this depends on financial status of the family. “The decline in family size is expected to have positive effects on children health. Family size has been found to be inversely related to the rates of utilization of health care services for illness”(Benjamin, 29) The sex or the gender of the sibling could also affect the health of other kids. According to research that was done in United States on obesity, it was revealed that friendship also counts in obesity. It shown that sibling’s relationship could increase the chances of one becoming sick.

The disease as per this research was noted to be higher among the siblings of the same sex and the reason was that influence on weight gain is highest among children with the same sex. In countries where female infanticide is allowed, the health of the female siblings is compromised. Infanticide is also known as selective killing and is very common in some Asian countries that have high population such as China and India. According to the 1984’s report on abortion, it was established that of all 8000 abortions that were carried out in Bombay, 7999 were targeted on the female fetuses.

In these countries if females escape from being aborted, they suffer in the hands of their parents by not being fed properly something that could result to malnutrition. This is because the culture of these countries does not value sibling of particular sex and therefore their parents do not invest in their health. It is not a wonder to see female children dying of diseases that could have been prevented. Siblings of the same sex are also more likely to experience rivalry among themselves than those of the opposite sex. These children see those of the same sex as enemies who are competing for the things that they themselves want.

They can even beat and hurt or injure the other sibling. Is there an ideal family, this is a question that many ask. An ideal family depends on the kind of family one would like to have. According to Bibby (2006), “The ideal family is still the traditional model, characterized by a marked mother and father with one or more children. ” Generally, an ideal family consists of a man and a woman and the number of children they want to have. Traditionally family was seen as incomplete if there were no children but this of late has changed as there are many families with no children due to increased rate of infertility.

It cannot be conclusively said what an ideal family is because this depends on what individuals prefer. The health of siblings could indeed be affected by other siblings birth order, family size and composition as well as the family size. Birth order affects on health because it determines the amount of attention you will receive from your parent and it decreases as you go down but the last born gets all the attention that is needed. Family size also determines the amount of resources that the family needs. If the family is big and poor, that means food will become a problem and siblings might become malnourished.

The sex of the sibling also affects the health of the sibling. Boys tend to be aggressive and might suppress their sisters. Again sex is used as a determinant of the amount of attention one should receive depending on the culture of the country foe example; in India boys are valued more than girls.


Breslau, N. 1992. Siblings of the disabled Children: Birth order and Spacing. Effects. Journal of abnormal child psychology. Vol. 10. No, 1. Benjamin C. A. , Alvin R. S, Tarlov, D. and Walsh C. 1995. Society and Health Oxford University Press US.

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