Having an offspring has its ups (oh, their beautiful smile and sweet gestures) and downs (ugh, those temper tantrums), but brave parents, take heart- it can also increase your life expectancy!
A study led by Karin Modig, a researcher of the Karolinska Institue in Stockholm, tracked the lifespan of 1.5 million men and women aging 60 onwards (born between 1911 and 1925) using national registry data in Sweden. They found that children generally provided support to their parents as they get older. Results showed that, on one hand, men with offspring/s can live up to 20.2 years further- two years longer than those without. One the other hand, women with offspring/s can live up to 24.6 years further- one and a half years longer than women without. Apparently, researchers said, “support from adult children to their ageing parents may be of importance for parental health and longevity”.
Moreover, at the age of 80, fathers could still expect to live another 7.7 years compared to just 7 more years of men those without kids. Mothers at the same age could also expect to live another 9.5 years compared to just 8.9 more years of those women without kids. Hence, the older the people get, the better the benefits of having a child.
Also, both non-married and married couples greatly benefited from having kids, but with a slightly higher impact on those unmarried- especially men. These benefits were about the same regardless of the child’s gender.
“Having children is associated with increased longevity, particularly in an absolute sense in old age. That the association increased with parents’ age was somewhat stronger for the non-married may suggest that social support is a possible explanation,” researchers concluded.
So, if you’re planning to live a little longer than usual, you might want to start “creating” your mini version- something your future self will thank you for.