Having children may increase lifespan

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Having children may increase lifespan

"Having children is associated with increased longevity, particularly in an absolute sense in old age", the researchers explained.

Everyone may have different viewpoints on when's the right age to have a child, but one thing for certain is that despite all the hardship, it is one of the most lovely experiences.

"Children can provide support in navigating the healthcare system, how to take medication, providing emotional support", said Karin Modig, a co-author of the research in an interview with The Independent. Women with children could expect to live for nearly 25 years past the age of 60 - 18 months longer than those without, she reported in the...

According to the researchers, it could possibly come down to children playing an important role in looking after their parents in their old age. Women who were parents at age 60 had life expectancies of about 24.6 years while those who did not have kids life expectancies dropped to 23.1 years.

Men and women benefit, regardless of the sex of their child or if the parents are married.

Age specific risks of death were calculated and compared for each calendar year for people who had had at least one child and for those who were childless.

The differences for women increased from 0.16 per cent to 1.1 per cent over this period, the team from Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, Sweden, found.

How the mortality advantage of parents over nonparents changes over one's lifespan is not known, but researchers suggested some hypotheses from the results, including the fact that in old age, the stress of parenthood is likely to be lower because parents can benefit from social support from their children.

While previous research has shown that adults with children live longer than those without, the new study unpicks how the effect plays out in older age.

The authors recently published their findings in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 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.

Additionally, individuals who were unmarried - particularly unmarried men - appeared to reap the greatest rewards from parenthood.

When it came to married with children versus unmarried, the difference in death risk for unmarried men was 1.2 per cent. Researchers speculate that unmarried men might be relying more on their children for care giving in the absence of a partner.

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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