The secret to a longer life? Try having children

Deep in sleep denial, new parents might sympathise with the old joke that they do not really live longer, it just feels like it.

Parents who reach the age of 60 can expect to live nearly two years longer than people without children and the gap persists to extreme old age, Swedish researchers found.

Modig and her colleagues used national Swedish health data to track all men and women born between 1911 and 1925 in that country.

At age 60, the difference in the one-year risk of death was 0.1 percent among men and 0.2 percent among women.

The study, which ran until the end of 2014, also gathered registry data on marital status and the number and sex of any children they had.

Researchers say sons and daughters help to keep their parents' minds active and provide additional care in old age.

As per a new study, having kids can help increase your lifespan.

Mothers at the age of 80 could expect a further 9.5 years, while those without would survive an average of only 8.9 years.

Scientists suggested that the reason for a longer lifespan might be the result of informational, emotional and social support provided by adult children. According to the researchers, men and women with at least one child had lower death risks than those without.

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.

The remaining life expectancy, in years, of 60-year-old men with children, compared with 18.4 for those who do not have children.

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

Parents aged 60 may live up to two years longer than their childless counterparts, according to researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

This was particularly true for men who became fathers.

Meanwhile, women aged 60 with children could expect to live a further 24.6 years, whereas those without could expect another 23.1 years - a difference of 1.5 years.

Unmarried men had the greatest benefit of having kids, suggesting they may be more reliant on their children in the absence of a partner.

The gap in absolute death risks between the two groups rose with increasing age, and was somewhat larger for men than it was for women.

However there are other explanations, including that adults with children might have healthier lifestyles, or that there are other factors that could decrease an individual's chances of having children and raise their risk of death.

  • Kyle Peterson