We aimed to assess whether birth order affects metabolism and body composition in overweight middle-aged men. We studied 50 men aged 45.6 ± 5.5 years, who were overweight (BMI 27.5 ± 1.7 kg/m(2)) but otherwise healthy in Auckland, New Zealand. These included 26 first-borns and 24 second-borns. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by the Matsuda method from an oral glucose tolerance test. Other ... [Show full abstract] assessments included DXA-derived body composition, lipid profiles, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, and carotid intima-media thickness. First-born men were 6.9 kg heavier (p = 0.013) and had greater BMI (29.1 vs 27.5 kg/m(2); p = 0.004) than second-borns. Insulin sensitivity in first-born men was 33% lower than in second-borns (4.38 vs 6.51; p = 0.014), despite adjustment for fat mass. There were no significant differences in ambulatory blood pressure, lipid profile or carotid intima-media thickness between first- and second-borns. Thus, first-born adults may be at a greater risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.