Parenting has its ups and downs but, thanks to a new study, everything is coming up roses. Even though you need to put up with tantrums, sibling arguments and a severe lack of sleep, you will win in the end because you will live a longer life.
Fathers seemed to come out on top when it came to longevity but mothers came up on the winning side as well. The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
“By the age of 60, the difference in life expectancy… may be as much as two years” between people with, and those without children, they concluded.
Researchers looked into the lifespan of both men and women living in Sweden between 1911 and 1925. Over 1.4 million adults were included in the study.
One thing they looked into was the marital status of the subjects. They discovered that both men and women had a ‘lower death risk’ when they had at least one child compared to their peers without children.
“At 60 years of age, the difference in life expectancy was two years for men and 1.5 years for women” compared to peers with no kids, the researchers wrote.
Men with children who reached the age of 80 had a life expectancy of 7 years and 8 months. Men without children lived an average of 7 years longer.
Mothers also did well. When they reached 80 years of age, they expected another 9.5 years of life if they had kids but without kids, it was only 8 years and 11 months.
The study was not conclusive but it did show that there might be a connection. In part, it may have to do with the financial and socal support from the kids. On the other hand, people without kids might tend to lead an unhealthy lifestyle.
In addition, both married and unmarried adults with children got the benefit of a longer life, but single, older men seemed to come out on top. Perhaps this is because unmarried men tended to rely on the kids more often.
Previous research showed that having a daughter provided more benefits than having a son.
The number of people having children in Sweeden is dropping. Older people are, at the same time, dropping out of old age institutions and moving in with the kids.
“Therefore, to further investigate health and survival consequences for childless older individuals is of importance,” wrote the team.