'Onlies' Score Higher--in Blood Pressure

American Health Magazine

Being an only child may have its advantages, but avoiding hypertension isn't one of them. Researchers at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo report a "strong association" between high blood pressure and lack of siblings.

The SUNY team analyzed data from a survey of 1,472 white men and women, ages 20 to 70.

The results showed that 58% of the men without siblings were hypertensive, as opposed to 33% of those with brothers or sisters; 37% of the female "onlies" were affected, versus 25% for those with siblings.

Normal blood pressure is usually lower than 140 over 90. The men in the lone-offspring group averaged 152 over 93, and the women 142 over 85.

"Only children have been associated with hard-driving, Type-A personalities and a greater need for achievement," says Dr. Maurizio Trevisan, an associate professor of social and preventive medicine. "These traits may be linked with their hypertension."

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