Only-children more likely to obese thanks to mum - study

If you grew up as an only child, you're more likely to be overweight than those with brothers and sisters, new research has found.

And your mum is likely to blame.

A new study has found parents of only-children tend to make worse food choices, drink more sugary beverages and are more likely to eat in front of the TV.

This leads to a greater likelihood of being obese, the study - published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior - says.

"Nutrition professionals must consider the influence of family and siblings to provide appropriate and tailored nutrition education for families of young children," said lead author Chelsea L Kracht of the University of Oklahoma.

They found no link between eating habits at school and daycare and kids' obesity, pointing the culprit at an influence "inside the household". 

A link was found between mothers' body-mass index and their children's - bigger mums were more likely to give their kids "empty calories", the researchers said.

"Efforts to help all children and families establish healthy eating habits and practices must be encouraged," said Dr Kracht, who did the research as part of her PhD. 

A University of Otago study last year found by 2038, the average New Zealander will be considered obese. Research this year at Otago and Victoria University found Kiwis really don't like being called "morbidly obese", but it's also a good motivator to lose weight.