In Summary

  • By age 80, men who fathered children had a remaining life expectancy of seven years and eight months, compared to seven years for childless men, said the team.
  • For mothers, life expectancy at 80 was nine years and six months, while for childless women it was eight years and 11 months.
  • The study merely pointed out a correlation, and cannot conclude that having children is the cause of the life expectancy gains, the researchers admitted.

Parents, take courage. If you survive the sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums and teenage angst, you may be rewarded with a longer life than your childless peers, researchers said Tuesday.

Fathers gained more in life expectancy than mothers, a team wrote in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health — and particularly in older age.

"By the age of 60, the difference in life expectancy... may be as much as two years" between people with, and those without, children, they concluded.

Researchers tracked the lifespan of men and women born between 1911 and 1925 and living in Sweden — more than 1.4 million people in total.

They also gathered data on whether the participants were married and had children.

Men and women with at least one child had "lower death risks" than childless ones, the team concluded.

"At 60 years of age, the difference in life expectancy was two years for men and 1.5 years for women" compared to peers with no kids, the researchers wrote.

LIFE EXPECTANCY

By age 80, men who fathered children had a remaining life expectancy of seven years and eight months, compared to seven years for childless men, said the team.

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