Two new studies show that men and women who have children are less likely to die young.
One study from Denmark looked at men and women with biological children as well as those who adopted. The study, which was written about on WebMD, found that:
“Parenthood apparently decreased the risk of early death. Mothers with a biological child were four times less likely to die an early death than childless women.”
“Fathers with a biological child were two times less likely to die an early death than childless men.”
“Men who adopted were nearly half as likely to die early as men who had no children.”
For women, the effect of adoption on longevity was not significant, Esben Agerbo, PhD, associate professor at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, said.
However the scientist says that it is just a link and does not prove cause and effect.
“He can only speculate as to why parenthood may increase longevity.”
”My best guess is health behaviors,” he says. “When people have kids, they tend to live healthier.”
“They pay more attention, he says, to lifestyle habits. For instance, they may get to bed earlier and get more sleep, knowing they have to get up early to feed children and do other tasks.”
“The new findings echo those of Michael Eisenberg, MD, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University.”
“In a study published in 2011, he found that childless married men had a higher risk of dying from heart disease acquired after age 50 than did men with two or more children.”
“The new study findings, he says, are ”certainly consistent with the identified link between childlessness and cardiovascular mortality.”
“As for how to explain the link, he says, “our group [of researchers] subscribes to a biologic link.”
“He says that fertility problems, common among the childless, may share some of the same origins as other health problems.”
I think it’s a fascinating issue, and I have several thoughts on it
My husband thinks it’s all about a stable environment. He says that people who have kids live in a stable environment and so they are more likely to take care of themselves and live longer.
So what do you think? Which relationship between living longer and having kids makes sense to you?
Do people with kids take better care of themselves because they have to be around to take care of the kids and/or because they have to set examples of healthy living?
Do you think there is a biological link where people who have fertility problems are more likely to have inherent health issues?
Or do you think it’s a matter of a more stable life? That you wouldn’t have kids if you weren’t stable and stability leads to healthier living?