One more reason to start a family!
It is said that marriage and a family “gives you purpose”. When you have someone outside yourself to take care of, worry about, spend time with, and love, life becomes much bigger and grander than just your wants and needs. Settling down, having kids, and starting your family is definitely a good way to do something great with your life. According to new research, it may even help you to live longer!
Before 2017, there were a few studies that indicated that parents tended to live longer than people without children. However, the evidence and the reasons WHY this is the case have been unclear. Hence, a team of Swedish scientists collected data on more than 1.4 million people to determine what, if any, effect having children had on longevity.
The data collected was for Swedes born between 1911 and 1925 (putting them all in their 80s and 90s), and examined their marital status and the number and genders of their children. They tend examined the lifespan of each of the people to determine if having kids had any effect on mortality rates or longevity.
The researchers found that people who had children lived for an average of 2 years longer than those without children. The risk of death was lower among parents than childless men and women. Men with kids lived around 2 years longer than men with no children, and women with kids lived around 1.5 years longer than women with no children. This result was established even after taking into account all the other factors (family history of diseases, educational attainment, etc.).
But the findings didn’t end there! The scientists also found that the older men got, the more influence parenthood had on their longevity, especially if they were unmarried. Unmarried men and women with children lived longer than unmarried men and women with no children. The reliance on one’s children in absence of a partner could explain why unmarried adults lived longer when they had children.
In previous studies, it was suggested that adults with daughters tended to live longer than adults with sons. However, the latest research indicates that the gender of the child has no effect on the lifespan of the adult. Sons or daughters, they’re both the same when it comes to increasing your longevity.
If you want to live longer, you need to realize that your children are your best asset. The emotional and psychological bonds you form with them can actually keep you alive for years after your unmarried, childless friends have shuffled off this mortal coil. Having someone to love and care for gives you a purpose, and that purpose can extend your lifespan.
The effects of having children may not only be emotional and psychological. Parenthood often makes adults realize that their lifestyle is unhealthy, and they have to start taking better care of themselves for their children’s sake. Many parents have ended up spending more time at the gym, cleaning up their diet, and improving their habits for their kids. This could be one of the reasons that parents tend to live longer than their childless counterparts.
Now, is that a reason to have kids the first chance you get? Definitely not! Starting a family is something that should be done deliberately. However, if you’re worried that having kids will shorten or somehow throw off your life, you’re wrong. Having a family will help you live longer—totally worth it, in the long run!