Parents live longer than childless adults
March 15, 2017 1 comment
Having children can lead to a longer life, according to a new study.
Research from medical university the Karolinska Institute in south-east Sweden suggests that among older people, those with children have a higher life expectancy than their childless peers.
Led by assistant professor Dr Karin Modig, the researchers used data from the national registry on more than 1.4 million people born in Sweden between 1911 and 1925. The lifespans were compared with their marital status and whether or not they had had children.
The effect of children was more pronounced among elderly men than women. By 60 years old, fathers were expected to live two years longer than childless men of the same age. By contrast, the life expectancy of mothers was only one and a half years higher than that of women without children.
However the gender gap narrowed when parents reached 80. Fathers at that age could reasonably expect to live another 7.7 years while those who did not have children survived an average of just another seven years. Meanwhile, 80 year-old mothers had a further life expectancy of around nine and a half years. By comparison childless women of the same age lived an average of less than nine additional years.
Speaking to The Independent, Dr Modig suggested that parenthood could lead to an increased lifespan because children “can provide support in navigating the healthcare system, how to take medication, [and provide] emotional support”.
The research team found that factors such as the gender of the children or how far they lived from their parents did not make a difference, she added.
The full study was published in the academic Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
Photo by Judit Klein via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
March 15, 2017
Categories: Family Life