BEACON TRANSCRIPT – You may find parenting tough, but it has many advantages. A new study performed by Swedish researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm found that parents live longer than people without children.
The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health on March 13th. It looked at health data from more than 725,000 Swedish women and approximately 705,000 Swedish men. The longitudinal study focused on the period between 1911 and 1925.
Researchers discovered that, when they reach 60 years, fathers were more likely to live two years more than men without children. Also, 60-year-old mothers were expected to live 1.5 years longer than childless women. Even at age 80, parents had more chances to live longer. Fathers won 8 additional months of life, while mothers 7 additional months, as compared to people who did not have children.
Also, the results showed that parents lived longer anyway, regardless of the gender of their children. However, the researchers could not identify the clear link between having children and living longer. Nevertheless, they have a few theories that support this claim.
People with children engage in healthier behaviors
Karin Modig, one of the study researchers, thinks that the longevity of parents is given by the fact that they are more likely to have healthier behaviors. They prepare more often home-cooked food for their children and are more flexible to healthier lifestyles. As a comparison, a 2015 study from Australia discovered that people who lived alone consumed less fruits and vegetables. Also, their diets were poorer, as they chose precooked meals and usually ate on the rush.
Modig also has another explanation for this phenomenon. This could be a response of natural selection, which shows that humans are meant to procreate. Also, childless people do not have all the social factors that have a good impact on their life expectancy.
Children can take care of their parents, too
Parents have another advantage over people without children. When they grow old, they have their adult children to take care of them and offer them all the support they need. The study showed that this was more important for unmarried men. If they do not have a partner, they tend to rely more on their children.
One last explanation would be the social interaction that old parents are engaged in with their adult children. The social element is really important for older people, and the fact that they can be socially active is crucial for their health.
If you ever thought about not having children, maybe this study will convince you to rethink your decision and think about the benefits of giving life.
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