Parenthood May Add Years to Your Life – Study

Almost all parents sometimes become very frustrated, even angry with their babies cry for hours or wake in the night. Instead of getting pissed of parents should be thankful to their babies as they could be helping to extend their life, suggests a new study.

A Swedish study by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm revealed parenthood is linked to a longer lifespan than childlessness, specifically in older age, when health starts to decline and even a fall could prove fatal.

As per the researchers, the findings apply to both men and women, however, fathers experience more life expectancy than mothers. Fathers, in fact, can expect to live nearly two years longer than men without any child, while mothers can expect to live an extra 18 months, they found.

Dr Karin Modig, Unit of Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden said: “Having children is associated with increased longevity, particularly in an absolute sense in old age. Support from adult children to ageing parents may be of importance for parental health and longevity.

“At old age, the stress of parenthood is likely to be lower and instead, parents can benefit from social support from their children. In addition, parents have on average more healthful behaviours than childless individuals.”

In order to determine whether parenthood might help prevent death in older age, the Swedish researchers studied the records of nearly 1.5 million people over 60, including both men and women who were born between 1911-1925. They tracked lifespan of the participants, examining when they died and whether they had children.

The researchers found that 60-year-old mothers expected to survive a further 24.6 years (lived on average to 84.6) compared to their peers without children. Childless women’s life expectancy was 83.1. Fathers at 60, on the other hand, can expect to survive another 20.2 years, compared to 78.4 for childless men, the researchers found.

Likewise, at the age of 80, women with children could expect to live a further 9.5 years, while those without children would survive an average of only 8.9 years. Fathers at the age of 80 with children could expect to survive a further 7.7 years, compared to those without children, who expect to live, on average, seven years.

“Our finding that the association grew stronger when parents became older is further in agreement with research suggesting that childless people face support deficits only towards the end of life,” the authors said.

The findings are published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.