CLOSE
istock
istock

There May Be Health Benefits to Having a Younger Sibling, Study Finds

istock
istock

When you’re a kid, having a younger brother or sister can be a mixed bag. But whether you saw your kid sibling as a best friend or annoying nuisance, whether you loved having someone to play with or hated sharing your toys, it turns out there may be tangible health benefits to having a younger sibling. 

According to a study led by the University of Michigan which will be published in Pediatrics next month, becoming an older sibling before first grade may lower the risk of becoming obese. The study, which compared the body mass indexes (BMIs) of 697 children across the United States, found that the birth of a sibling between the ages of two and four was associated with a healthier BMI. Children without a sibling, meanwhile, were close to three times more likely to be obese by the first grade. 

Researchers are not yet sure why the connection between younger siblings and weight exists. At the moment, they believe the birth of a second sibling may change the way parents feed their kids, or that having a sibling causes children to lead more active lives. Researchers believe that the simple presence of a younger sibling may motivate kids to spend less time involved in solitary, sedentary activities like television watching, and more time in so-called "active play."

The study was inspired, in part, by the desire to solve the mounting childhood obesity problem in America. “Childhood obesity rates continue to be a great cause of concern. If the birth of a sibling changes behaviors within a family in ways that protect against obesity, these may be patterns other families can try to create in their own homes,” said researcher Julie Lumeng. “Better understanding the potential connection between a sibling and weight may help health providers and families create new strategies for helping children grow up healthy.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
Interactive Chart Tells You How Long It Takes to Get Frostbite
iStock
iStock

For many people, winter means dry skin and high heating bills. But if you find yourself outdoors in the right conditions, it can also mean frostbite. Frostbite occurs when the skin and the tissue beneath it freezes, causing pain, loss of sensation, or worse. It's easier to contract than you may think, even if you don't live in the Siberian tundra. To see if frostbite poses a threat where you live, check out this chart spotted by Digg.

The chart, developed by Pooja Gandhi and Adam Crahen using National Weather Service data, looks at three factors: wind speed, air temperature, and time spent outdoors. You can hover your cursor over data-points on the table to see how long you'd need to be exposed to certain wind chills for your skin tissue to freeze. If the wind chill is -22°F, for example (10°F air temperature with 5 mph winds), it would take 31 minutes of being outside before frostbite sets in. You can also look at the time scale above the chart to calculate it a different way. If you bring your cursor to the 40-minute mark, a window will tell that frostbite becomes a risk after exposure to -17°F wind chill for that amount of time. You can play with the interactive table at Tableau Public.

Chart of cold weather conditions.
Adam Crahen, Pooja Gandhi

If you can't avoid being outside in extreme wind and cold, there are a few steps you can take to keep your skin protected. Wear lots of layers, including multiple socks, and wrap your face with a scarf or face mask before venturing into the cold. Also, remember to stay hydrated. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, drinking at least one glass of water before going outside decreases your risk of contracting frostbite.

[h/t Digg]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
REM-Fit
arrow
Live Smarter
Stop Your Snoring and Track Your Sleep With a Wi-Fi Smart Pillow
REM-Fit
REM-Fit

Everyone could use a better night's rest. The CDC says that only 66 percent of American adults get as much sleep as they should, so if you're spending plenty of time in bed but mostly tossing and turning (or trying to block out your partner's snores), it may be time to smarten up your sleep accessories. As TechCrunch reports, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow improves your sleeping schedule in a multitude of ways, whether you're looking to quiet your snores or need a soothing lullaby to rock you to sleep.

After a successful Kickstarter in 2016, the product is now on sale and ready to get you snoozing. If you're a snorer, the pillow has a microphone designed to listen to the sound of your snores and softly vibrate so that you shift positions to a quieter pose. Accelerometers in the pillow let the sleep tracker know how much you're moving around at night, allowing it to record your sleep stages. Then, you can hook the pillow up to your Amazon Echo or Google Home so that you can have your favorite smart assistant read out the pillow's analysis of your sleep quality and snoring levels the next morning.

The pillow is also equipped with eight different wireless speakers that turn it into an extra-personal musical experience. You can listen to soothing music while you fall asleep, either connecting the pillow to your Spotify or Apple Music account on your phone via Bluetooth or using the built-in relaxation programs. You can even use it to listen to podcasts without disturbing your partner. You can set a timer to turn the music off after a certain period so you don't wake up in the middle of the night still listening to Serial.

And when it's time to wake up, the pillow will analyze your movements to wake you during your lightest sleep stage, again keeping the noise of an alarm from disturbing your partner.

The downside? Suddenly your pillow is just another device with a battery that needs to charge. And forget about using it in a place without Wi-Fi.

The ZEEQ Smart Pillow currently costs $200.

[h/t TechCrunch]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios