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.