New research suggests that dads are a little less likely to die of heart-related problems than childless men are.
The study — by the AARP, the government and several universities — is the largest ever on male fertility and mortality, involving nearly 138,000 men. Although a study like this can't prove that fatherhood and mortality are related, there are plenty of reasons to think they might be, several heart disease experts said.
Marriage, having lots of friends and even having a dog can lower the chance of heart problems and cardiac-related deaths, previous research suggests. Similarly, kids might help take care of you or give you a reason to take better care of yourself.
Also, it takes reasonably good genes to father a child. An inability to do so might mean a genetic weakness that can spell heart trouble down the road.
Keep in mind that differences are not dramatic, so the search for better health is probably not a good reason in and of itself for a man to father a child. However, this research does come on the heals of a study published last week suggesting that testosterone, the main male hormone, drops when a man becomes a father, so these two studies together suggest some intriguing biological linkages to male reproduction.