Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Are children murderers to parent's life expectancies?


Are Children Murderers to Parent's Life Expectancies?

          We’ve all heard the cliched line “having kids takes years off of your life,” but is this actually true? According to a recent study done on adults in Sweden it is in fact just the opposite. Having children has shown to increase the lives of these adults rather than take years away from it. Yes, I know what you are probably thinking, so much of what children do to their parents causes stress, and yes I totally agree with that, but the data shows otherwise. The study was done on adults that were aged at least 60 (born between the years 1911-1925), and the participants in the study were followed up until the year 2014 if they lived that long, or until their death. The sample size was 1.425 million, 700,000 men and 725,000 women. What they found when all of the data was collected is that, men with children at age 60 were expected to live, on average, another 20.2 years, whereas men without children were only expected to live another 18.4 years. They found similar results with the women where women with children at age 60 were expected to live another 24.6 years, whereas women without children at age 60 were only expected to live another 23.1 years. Although it may not seem like that much more, these are averages and could be skewed based off of a few outliers within the data set, meaning the data could not be telling the full story. Also with a sample size this big, any amount of difference is usually fairly substantial. Regardless, even if having children does only add about a year and a half to your life, it’s another year and a half you get to spend with your loved ones, and time with loved ones is something that everyone cherishes.


            Is there a specific reason why adults with children tend to live longer than adults without children? The researchers have a couple of ideas on why this could be the case. The first is that when the parents are aging, they obviously can’t take care of themselves as well as they used to, so if they have children that can help take them to doctor’s appointments and help them do things around the house, and help with other things that make the lives of the aging adults less strenuous, this could certainly let the adults lead not only a less stressful life but also a less dangerous life. Another possible source for the longer life expectancies of parents is that, as a parent most adults tend to practice healthier behaviors that way their children will be healthier. For example, parents may be less likely to smoke or less likely to eat unhealthy foods because they don’t want their children to smoke or be obese and unhealthy.


            The happiest day of most parent’s lives are when their children are born, and the happiness that parents feel doesn’t go away (so I’m told). Sure, children definitely stress their parents out and make them angry sometimes, but I’m willing to bet that most parents love their children more than anything in the world. Parents and children share a bond that can never be broken, and it just so happens that that bond can be beneficial to the life expectancy of the parents.


Posted by Nicolas Baltayan (Group A – Week 7)

11 comments:

  1. Wow! This was extremely interesting. Do you think that maybe the initial stress of having children is offset by the fullfillment of it? Since children help take care of their aging parents would you think that different cultures who put taking care of their parents as they age to a higher standard than cultures who dont. Because Ive heard many Asian cultures would never dream about putting their parents in a nursing home but thats a common tradition to do in America. Also would you think that having one kid versus say four children would make a difference in life expectancy or would that be too small of a difference for it to really matter. Because the stress from four versus one child is much different but then you have four children to take care of you versus just one. Or would that one be enough to add years to your life. Very interesting blog!

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    1. You have lots of good questions here and I will do my best to answer all of them to the best of my knowledge.

      I believe that the initial stress of having children is immediately offset by the happiness and jubilation the parents feel to have brought a child into this world.

      I'm not sure if having one child versus 4 will cause more or less stress and have a positive effect on life expectancy, but what I do know is that four children taking care of you is better than one so I definitely could see the life expectancy of adults to increase with more children.

      Posted by Nicolas Baltayan

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  2. I agree, this is super interesting! I never thought children would have too much of an effect on their parents' life expectancies, but this makes sense. I believe children caring for their parents has the greatest effect on their lifespan. With the help of their loved ones, they are much more likely to live a safe comfortable last few years! Sad but nice!

    Posted by Caitlin Lohr

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    2. Absolutely, this article came as a shock to me too. But as someone who wants kids in the future, I can safely say that this helped make up my mind even more.

      Posted by Nicolas Baltayan

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  3. This is such an interesting article! Life expectancies of parents vs. non parent is something I have never thought about before and I’m a little surprised by the results. Initially I would think that people without kids would live longer, maybe because they have less responsibilities and more time to spend on themselves. However, after reading this article I know that’s not the case. It makes sense that parents would live longer with the help of their children. Thinking about my own life, I have experienced my parents putting so much effort and love into their elderly parents. I think culturally this is a wonderful thing that we do, but as mentioned earlier, it is so variable among different cultures. For example, in Sweden where this study took place, what is the typical way in which children care for their parents? Do they take them into their own homes or maybe put them in a nursing home? Do these factors play a role in parent’s life expectancies? I really enjoyed this article!

    Posted by Taylor Irwin

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    1. From what I have read, it seems that there are nursing homes in Sweden, so I would assume that t hose nursing homes are similar to what we have here in the United States. Therefore, I would assume that the life expectancies of the Swedish adults would be similar to what we have in the United States of people who have children.

      Posted by Nicolas Baltayan

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  4. This is an interesting article. It makes sense that people with children would live longer because the children start to take care of their parents at one point. Children give their parents the greatest happiness in the world (most of the time) and I think that this also plays a role in lifespan.

    Posted by Sierra Tyrol

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  5. I really enjoyed this! It was really nice and cute, haha. I definitely agree with a lot of the potentials reasons as to why couples with children may live longer. Sure, kids can stress their parents out and some don't have great relationships with them at all either. But I'd like to believe for the most part, parents love their children and children do bring their parents an indescribable happiness. I think it's definitely a bond that would increase life expectancy.

    Posted by Natalie Nou (group c)

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  6. What first caught my attention was the title. I thought, "Wow! Maybe my mom was telling the truth all those times she muttered under her breath that we were taking years off her life." Except, I guess she was wrong!

    The propositions for why this may be true seem to all stem out of love for their children. For example, you mentioned healthier eating habits and possibly more reason to not smoke cigarettes. I like how the article has tied human nature and paternal instincts into the reasoning. Often times science becomes very complicated and this is so simplistic, yet most likely accurate.

    Posted by Anna Potorski

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  7. Reading this really opens up my eyes with how true this article is. I too agree that adults with children will be more likely to live longer than adults without children. Having children, does mean having someone younger around when the adult is too old, and needs help doing certain tasks. Without that extra help, adults are left by themselves and are more likely to hurt themselves because they are doing everything on their own. No wonder why I still have such a large family to this day!

    Posted by: Givenchy Humes (Group b)

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