Want To Live Longer? Have Some Kids!

A Danish study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health finds that people who become parents, especially women tend to live longer. They studied over 21,000 couples that were registered for in vitro fertilization treatments.

According to the study, women who are childless who die from circulatory disease, cancer and accidents have a death rate that is four times higher than women who have children. The death rate of women who adopt children is 50% lower than childess parents. The death rate for men without children was twice as high as men who have children.

They also studied the rate of mental illness. The rate of mental illness was around the same whether you had children or not, unless drug and alcohol problems existed. The rate of mental illness for adoptive parents was 50% less than biological parents and childless couples. This number could be explained because adoptive parents' health and financial situation is evaluated prior to adoption.

The researcher noted that parents who adopt and get in vitro fertilization treatments tend to be more affluent. Affluent people tend to live longer, so this may affect the results of the study. I would not dismiss that fact that affluent people have access to better healthcare.  Better healthcare can contribute having a longer life span.

I must say that I was stunned when I read the title of the study. Parents are always talking about how their children are going to give them a heart attack on a regular basis so how can this be true? Parenting is rewarding but it can also be very stressful. Maybe it's the rewarding part of parenting that extends the life of men and women. I'm going to think about this study the next time my kids are stressing me out.

Are single people going to go out and start having babies? Is this extension of life a legitimate reason to have children? If you had no plans to have children, does this study make you re-think your decision?

Thanks for reading!

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