Becoming A Father Before 25 Increases Middle-Age Death

A new study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health is showing that becoming a father before the age of 25 is linked to dying early in middle age. The study suggests that men who end up fathering a child in early life often times have poorer health, which leads to them dying earlier than men who have delayed fatherhood by quite a few years. The findings of this study are fairly surprising, because it showed a dramatic difference in the risk of an early death from specific age ranges that the men had their first child.

man with kid

Environment, early socioeconomic status, and genes are also thought to explain the association between early death and early fatherhood. The researchers used a 10 percent nationally representative sample which was drawn from the 1950 Finnish Census. There were more than 30,500 men involved in the study who were all born between 1940 and 1950, and they became fathers by the age of 45. The fathers were then tracked from age 45 until death or age 54, and the researchers used mortality data for 1985 through 2005. The researchers had found out that 15 percent of the sample had ended up fathering their first child by the age of 22, with 29 percent of the men fathering a child between age 22 to 24. 18 percent of the men were 25 or 26, 19 percent were between 27 or 29, and 19 percent had fathered their first child between 30 and 44 years of age. The average age that a man became a father was around 25 or 26, and this was the reference point for the study.

The researchers were taking into account influential factors, which would be educational attainment and region of residence, and these are also linked to the timing of becoming a parent for the first time. Marital status and number of children are linked to being factors that determine long-term health status. During the 10 year study, about 1in 20 of the fathers ended up dying, with the primary cause of death being ischaemic heart disease, which happened in 21 percent of the men. 16 percent of the men died from diseases related to excess alcohol use. The men who were fathers by the time they were age 22 had a 26 percent higher risk of dying during middle-age years than the men who had fathered children for the first time when they were around 25 or 26. The men who had their first child between 22 and 24 had a 14 percent higher risk of death during middle-age. The results of the study were independent of any factors in adulthood or year of birth.

The researchers found out that men who had become fathers between 30 and 44 had a 25 percent decreased risk of death in their middle-aged years than the men who had fathered a child between 25 or 26 years of age. The risk of death for the men who had fathered their first child between 27 and 29 had the same risk as the men who were in the reference group. In another subsidiary sample of 1,124 siblings, the brothers who had become fathers by the age of 22 were 73 percent more likely to die earlier than their siblings that had fathered their first child between the ages of 25 or 26. The men that had entered parenthood around 22 to 24 years of age ended up with a 63 percent higher chance of dying in mid-life. The results of the study remained true independent of the year of birth, shared early life circumstances, educational backgrounds, marital status, region of residence, and number of children. The men who became fathers around the 30 to 44 age group had a 22 percent lower risk of middle-age death, which again was the same as those who had fathered children between ages 25 or 26.

The researchers said that the findings suggest that there is a casual association between young fatherhood and middle-age mortality. The association was not explained by the unobserved early life characteristics that were shared by brothers or by adult characteristics that are known to be associated with fertility timing and mortality. The researchers say that this study shows that men who become fathers at a young age need support in terms of handling a demanding job and stressed lifestyle, which happens when you have children. The researchers say that young men who are fathers need a support system in order to help them make healthy lifestyle choices, which can help them reduce their risk of dying early. Men who are stressed out and also working a lot will be the most likely to die early, and young men are especially stressed out when it comes to juggling their personal and professional lifestyles. The researchers say that doctors really need to be aware of how fatherhood can affect young men, and suggest ways that their patients can better their lifestyle, such as ways to eat better and get exercise so that these young men will go on to live long healthy lives.

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Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.