Dads less likely to die of heart-related problems

New research has found that fathers are 17 percent less likely to die of heart-related problems that childless men are.

From The Associated Press:

“The study – by the AARP, the government and several universities – is the largest ever on male fertility and mortality, involving nearly 138,000 men. Although a study like this can’t prove that fatherhood and mortality are related, there are plenty of reasons to think they might be, several heart disease experts said.”

“Marriage, having lots of friends and even having a dog can lower the chance of heart problems and cardiac-related deaths, previous research suggests. Similarly, kids might help take care of you or give you a reason to take better care of yourself.”

“Also, it takes reasonably good genes to father a child. An inability to do so might mean a genetic weakness that can spell heart trouble down the road.”

“There is emerging evidence that male infertility is a window into a man’s later health,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a Stanford University urologist and fertility specialist who led the study. “Maybe it’s telling us that something else is involved in their inability to have kids.”

The study was published online Monday by the journal Human Reproduction.

Last week, a study by other researchers of 600 men in the Philippines found that testosterone, the main male hormone, drops after a man becomes a dad. Men who started out with higher levels of it were more likely to become fathers, suggesting that low levels might reflect an underlying health issue that prevents reproduction, Eisenberg said.

In general, higher levels of testosterone are better, but too much or too little can cause HDL, or “good cholesterol,” to fall – a key heart disease risk factor, said Dr. Robert Eckel, past president of the American Heart Association and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, Denver.

“This is a hot topic,” Eckel said. “I like this study because I have five children,” he joked, but he said many factors such as job stress affect heart risks and the decision to have children.

Researchers admit they couldn’t measure factors like stress, but they said they did their best to account for the ones they could. They started with more than 500,000 AARP members age 50 and over who filled out periodic surveys starting in the 1990s for a long-running research project sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

For this study, researchers excluded men who had never been married so they could focus on those most likely to have the intent and opportunity to father a child. Men with cancer or heart disease also were excluded to compare just men who were healthy when the study began.

Of the remaining 137,903 men, 92 percent were fathers and half had three or more children. After an average of 10 years of follow-up, about 10 percent had died. Researchers calculated death rates according to the number of children, and adjusted for differences in smoking, weight, age, household income and other factors.

They saw no difference in death rates between childless men and fathers. However, dads were 17 percent less likely to have died of cardiovascular causes than childless men were.”

Click the link to read all the caveats to the story.

So what do you think: Would you buy that men with kids are less likely to die of heart disease? I’m not sure it makes sense — seems like they would have more stress in their lives and less time to take care of themselves.

Is it worth having kids for 17 percent less likely chance of dying from heart problems?

22 comments Add your comment

Jeff

September 27th, 2011
7:15 am

I think it also depends on who the mother is. ;).

I have always been health conscious so having a child did’t change that for me. Maybe men with lower testosterone (survey said it dropped after children) equates to less aggression and thus less “risky” behavior? Not sure. Family history is also a big factor. But at least they’re looking in to it.

motherjanegoose

September 27th, 2011
7:45 am

This is something I know nothing about and thus I will leave it to those who do.

TWG:
Is it worth having kids for 17 percent less likely chance of dying from heart problems?

Having kids, to me, is worth it. While they have had their moments, I enjoy them most of the time and look forward to seeing them when I can. They are lots of fun now that they are adults and can teach me a thing or two!

I am off to visit with the children. Thanks again catlady for joining me at school yesterday it was fun! Have a great day all!

Me

September 27th, 2011
8:19 am

I guess I might buy in to that provided that the kids aren’t the ones who actually “cause” the heart problems! :)
Having two girls, 22 and 18, it’s a wonder sometimes that mine is still ticking… Our 16-year-old son is nothing compared to his older female siblings!

Jim

September 27th, 2011
8:54 am

I am guessing that Father’s with kids remain active longer.

JOD

September 27th, 2011
9:31 am

I think Jim is on to something, but would add that dads (like moms) have a tangible future to work toward (e.g. kids’ milestones, grandkids), which may make them more proactive about their health.

But why is it that women live longer than men?

September 27th, 2011
9:55 am

…I heard that it is because most women don’t have wives…

Jesse's Girl

September 27th, 2011
10:20 am

Yeah….I got nothin’…..as was stated above….I think it totally depends on the dynamic between the mother and father.

Dad

September 27th, 2011
10:21 am

As a Dad who had heart surgery in 2000, I now why this is the case. Had it nor been for my wife’s contsant urging, I would not have located the problem with my heart and had it surgically “fixed.” I would have ignored it, for sure. I have had 11 years now that I would NOT have had without her loving attention. Thanks Hon!

NAGA

September 27th, 2011
10:25 am

I think owning a dog extends a man’s life more than having a spouse. Unlike a wife, the dog is always happy to see you.

Jesse's Girl

September 27th, 2011
10:38 am

NAGA….you just need a better woman:)

jarvis

September 27th, 2011
10:56 am

(Kids) “give you a reason to take better care of yourself.”

I believe this to be true at least it is for me. My only true anxiety is that I won’t live long enough to raise my kids.

Proud Father/Husband

September 27th, 2011
11:27 am

@Dad, Like you, I am very proud of my Wife because had it not been for her, I would have been dead. I was so tired and all I wanted to do was to lay down to get some rest but because of her nagging me constantly, plus actually putting my butt in the car to take me to the hospital, she saved my life. Had she not cared, I would have been dead in three hours, per what the Doctor’s told us, and my kids would have seen their Father dead on the couch. I did have a major heart attack at the hospital and to my luck, all of the Doctors that needed to be there, well, they were there that day and were one me like white on rice when I flatlined.

Yes, I also have pets but you know how those animals can be at times. They can act so much worse than the kids ever thought about acting. I did not listen to people when they would tell me that I needed to watch what I was eating because I never figured it would happen to me. I mean heck, who does think that it will. Well, it did happen and had I not had a very loving and caring Wife by my side, I would be 6 feet under right now and there would be two kids with no Father. Oh yea, also two dogs with no one to torment. Again, this happened earlier this year and I was only 39 years old at the time. My Wife has always told me that she would never stand behind me but she would always stand beside me and on this day, she took on the role as head of our household.

Honey, I Love You very much plus, Thank You for our two Wonderful Kids and Thank You for saving my life and being there for me. If there was an award for Mother/Wife of the year, you would be the one that should get it. I know there are a many of Father’s/Husbands out there that can say the same thing about their Wife so that only means that as Men, we need to give our Wives more credit for what they do and less crap about what they did not do. I LOVE YOU SWEETIE!!!!

Hey motherjanegoose........

September 27th, 2011
11:30 am

We get it! You meet friends outside the blog.
Since you know how to contact them personally, why do you mention it online?

Do you have self-esteem issues? Just wondering

No, hey...

September 27th, 2011
12:22 pm

…but jarvis does

Denise

September 27th, 2011
12:37 pm

@hey, MJG – I doubt she has self-esteem issues and she definitely shouldn’t. She is just friendly and likes to acknowledge the people she meets. What does it matter to you? And your comment matters to me because I think it is mean for no reason and I don’t like mean for no reason against ANYONE.

Denise

September 27th, 2011
12:40 pm

@Proud Father/Husband – you brought tears to my eyes. My aunt saved my uncle’s life in pretty much the same way (not heart attack, something in the brain) and I cannot imagine what our family would be like without him as I’m sure your family would suffer greatly without you. Thanks for being so open about how you love and appreciate your wife.

Thanks to ALL you guys who do that. I love reading that kind of stuff. (I’m mushy today for some reason, sorry)

jmb

September 27th, 2011
1:40 pm

@Proud Father, That was very sweet!! Your wife is lucky as well.

lisa

September 27th, 2011
1:42 pm

Denise, in heys defense, she did bring it up about 10 times ;)

Denise

September 27th, 2011
2:26 pm

Lisa – :-)

motherjanegoose

September 27th, 2011
3:07 pm

Ten…today? Or maybe you mean that I have met with ten people from the blog? Actually, I think it is more like 7. I am thrilled to have met several people on this blog and made new friends too. I bring it up because some here take random shots at me, who do not even know me. So far, everyone who has spent time with me in person has said they would be up for it again. I thank TWG for providing me with new friends who know things that I do not know and have made my life interesting too. I enjoy hearing things from someone else’s perspective and even though we are all different, some of us can find common ground to chat about and share ideas. Many people have told me that I do not know a stranger. I have eaten meals, in restaurants with people I met in line waiting and it is fun. Helps me step out of my normal routine…well actually nothing about my routine is normal. I spent 17 nights in hotels this month from Florida to Montana.

lisa

September 27th, 2011
4:03 pm

Not ragging on you MJG, I actually like reading your posts but yes, you do remind us all a lot that you have freinds on here…just sayin, keep it down a little ok.

motherjanegoose

September 27th, 2011
4:13 pm

What can I say…I enjoy new friends! I am all about new friends! I especially like friends who have something interesting to contribute to the topic at hand and there are several here who do a nice job with it! Have a nice evening all!