Does having kids make you live longer?


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NBC News recently reported that men and women who have children are more likely to live longer than those who don't. The study, conducted by Aarhus University, concluded that "people who tried but failed to have children are two to four times more likely to die young than parents."

If that's not surprising enough, the researchers believe that the reason for this correlation comes down to behavioral differences. They claim that people without children are more likely to die from external forces, like accidents and (possibly, it's not confirmed) suicide. Because of this, the researchers suggest that not having kids is a detrimental force on one's psychiatric health, causing them to die faster.

While there are tons of both studies and personal anecdotes that claim parenthood is a great and positive part of one's life, could it really affects someone's mental health so much that they live a longer life because of it?

While these conclusions aren't entirely unbelievable, I came up with another explanation. Is it possible that someone who already has a life-threatening condition may be either infertile or not want to have children because of their illness? I was surprised to see that this was never really considered, as it was my first thought when I read the study's claim.

Personally, I can't shake the feeling that this study is jumping to conclusions, and neglecting to take certain third variables into account (such as one's health before having children, their class, level of income, etc.) that could more effectively explain this correlation. However, it's an interesting topic, and I would love to see more studies that focus on the long-term benefits to one's life based on whether or not you're a parent.


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