Children help you live longer, says study

A parent holding a child's hand

There was also one more interesting tidbit this study turned up: While it used to be the belief in academia and research circles that daughters would bear the brunt of the hard work in taking care of elderly parents, this new research data suggests that "it was just as beneficial [for parents] to have a boy as it was to have a girl".

The risk of death in the next year for an 80-year-old dad was 7.4 per cent, compared to a 8.3 per cent risk for a childless man of the same age. The study wound up including almost 705,000 men and more than 725,000 women.

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 14 (ANI): The proverb "The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering" is perfectly explained in a new study that says, parents, especially fathers, can expect to live longer than those who are childless.

The researchers also found that the association between having children and a longer lifespan grew with age, with men seeing the largest life expectancy increase as a result of parenthood.

Fewer people are having children in Sweden as older people are spurning old-age institutions to receive care at home - often by their children.

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.

The analysis found that at the age of 60, men and women with children on average could expect to live for another 18.4 and 23.1 years, respectively.

"At old age, the stress of parenthood is likely to be lower and instead, parents can benefit from social support from their children".

For example, childless men aged 90 had a death risk of 17.7 per cent, compared to 16.2 per cent for men of the same age with children. Childlessness also could be a sign of natural selection, indicating that people who don't have kids are subject to biological or social challenges that affect their life expectancy, she suggested.

This may suggest that unmarried people rely on their children more for support, whereas married couples are supported by their partner. Other explanations for the findings could include the fact that parents have healthier lifestyles than those who are childless, the researchers said. "My hunch is it does not matter what you do with the kids".

Childless seniors can help extend their life by joining groups, volunteering and essentially building their own family, Wolf-Klein said.

Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers said: 'Support from adult children to their ageing parents may be of importance for parental health and longevity'.