Published: 16-03-2017 16:05 | Updated: 16-03-2017 16:06

Parenthood is associated with a longer life

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found that parenthood is associated with a longer life than childlessness. The study is published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

At the age of 60, the impact on projected life expectancy of having a child/children was almost two extra years for men, and 1.5 extra years for women.

The study included all men (704,481) and women (725,290) with a birth date between 1911 and 1925 and living in Sweden, using national registry data. The study also gathered registry data on marital status and the number and sex of any children they had.

The association was not affected by the sex of the child/children, as has been suggested by previous research. The association seemed to be stronger among those who weren’t married – at least among the men. Since it’s an observational study, no firm conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn.

First author is Karin Modig, Assistant professor at the institute of environmental medicine, Karolinska Institutet.

This news article is an edited version of a press release from the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.


“Payback time? Influence of having children on mortality in old age”
K Modig, M Talbäck, J Torssander, A Ahlbom.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, online 14 March 2017, doi: 10.1136/jech-2016-207857