Parents live longer than their childless counterparts, study finds
However, there is an upside to joining the parenting party (besides the joy of parenting itself of course!) because research has revealed that far from shortening your lifespan, being a parent actually means you're likely to live longer.
While it is not clear why having children is linked to a longer life, the researchers suggest it might be down to children helping to look after their ageing parents, be it through physical care, emotional support or even arguing for better treatment.
Researchers tracked the lifespan of more than 1.4 million people (men and women) born between 1911 and 1925 and living in Sweden. At age 60, men that had children could expect to live another 20,2 years while childless men could live another 18,4 years.
The study, which ran until the end of 2014, also gathered data on marital status and the number of children they had, and the children's sex.
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"Having children is associated with increased longevity, particularly in an absolute sense in old age", the researchers explained.
Mothers at the age of 80 could expect a further 9.5 years, while those without would survive an average of only 8.9 years. Women aged 60 with children could expect to live a further 24.6 years, whereas those without could expect another 23.1 years.
However, it's important to emphasise that while the study can confirm a strong link between increased life expectancy and having a child [ren], it cannot conclude that having a child [ren] is the cause for the more years added to parents' lives, reports The Guardian.
That study, which looked at 1,600 adults with an average age of 71, found that almost 23 per cent of participants who were considered lonely died within six years of the study. And fathers gained more in life expectancy than mothers.
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Parents aged 60 may live up to two years longer than their childless counterparts, according to researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Researchers then calculated and compared age-specific risks of death for each year for people who had at least one child and for those who were without children. The difference was about twice as large among unmarried men (including widowers and divorcees) as married men.
This may suggest that unmarried people rely on their children more for support, whereas married couples are supported by their partner.
"At old age, the stress of parenthood is likely to be lower and instead, parents can benefit from social support from their children".
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However there are other explanations, including that adults with children might have healthier lifestyles, or that there are other factors that could decrease an individual's chances of having children and raise their risk of death.
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