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A First-Of-Its-Kind Study Suggests That Fathers Have Worse Cardiovascular Health Compared To Men Without Kids

Drazen - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

Many people with kids tend to agree that the joys of parenthood – like experiencing the connection and fulfillment of raising and nurturing a child – outweigh the cons, like expensive childcare, sleepless nights, and busy schedules.

However, a recent study suggests that becoming a father may significantly impact men’s heart health as they age.

Conducted by researchers from Northwestern University and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the research suggests that fathers generally have poorer cardiovascular health compared to childless men.

This novel, multi-ethnic study involved the examination of data from 2,814 men between the ages of 45 and 84 who participated in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). These men identified as Black, Chinese, Hispanic, or White.

The participants were broken up into categories – with 82% categorized as fathers and the remaining 18% as non-fathers. Afterward, the team thoroughly assessed each man’s cardiovascular health using the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 measures, with sleep being excluded.

After tracking and comparing cardiovascular health factors among both fathers and non-fathers over time, the researchers were able to analyze the impact of fatherhood on heart health as the men grew older. The study also adjusted for other potentially confounding variables.

The study ultimately showed that men who have children tend to experience worse cardiovascular health as they age into older adulthood compared to peers without kids.

The research team believes that perhaps the stresses and responsibilities of being a parent make it more difficult for fathers to keep up with healthy habits – such as eating a nutritious diet and regularly exercising.

Yet, there were also some interesting discrepancies. Primarily, even though fathers had worse cardiovascular health, they still had lower overall mortality rates compared to childless men. This may be explained by the fact that fathers get to reap the benefits of having stronger support systems, as well as the prospect of being cared for in the future by their adult children.

Drazen – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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