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Parenthood can help you live longer in older age, research suggests

Parenthood can help you live longer in older age, research suggests

Parenthood can make you live longer, research has suggested - with the benefits of having children persisting even when people reach the age of 80 and over.

Experts tracked the lifespan of people aged 60 -704,481 men and 725,290 women born between 1911 and 1925 living in Sweden.

According to the findings, the one-year risk of death for an 80-year-old man with a child was 7.4 per cent, compared to 8.3 per cent for childless men of the same age. And while I may still secretly want to be that insane lady who lives past 110 years old and still calls my kids and asks them if they took their vitamins, I am also pretty hopeful that my children will want to nurture me and make sure that my final sunset years are blissful ones.

"Support from adult children to aging parents may be of importance for parental health and longevity", researchers say in the report.

Study leader Dr Karin Modig said: "Having children is associated with increased longevity in old age".

The remaining life expectancy, in years, of 60-year-old women with children, compared with 23.1 for those who do not have children.

The researchers suggest that could be because unmarried men are more dependant on their children for support than men who are married, adding that previous research has suggested that men benefit more from marriage when it comes to survival than women do, possibly explaining why the effect is not seen for women.

In contrast, people who do not have children struggle more for the kind of social support offered by having them.

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The study merely pointed out a correlation, and can not conclude that having children is the cause of the life expectancy gains, the researchers admitted.

Aged 60, men with children could expect to live for another 20.2 years, whereas men without children could expect a further 18.4 years.

But the results showed the risk of death was lower among those who had at least one child, compared to those who were childless. "There are so many different reasons for not having children", Modig said.

The associations found were evident among those who were married and unmarried, but seemed to be stronger among those who weren't married-at least among the men: the difference in death risk was 1.2% among unmarried men and 0.6% among those who were married.

This may suggest that unmarried people rely on their children more for support, whereas married couples are also supported by their partner.

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.

But while many imagine it is daughters who dote on their parents in their twilight years, the study suggested the sex of children did not play a role.


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