Hey, dads! Having kids is good for your heart. That’s not a metaphor.
Dads are less likely to die of heart disease than men without children, according to a new study reported on in Time. It’s not being surrounded by your loving children that makes you healthier. These researchers believe that infertility may be linked to heart disease, so not having kids would be a sign that you’re at higher risk for a heart attack.
The study was huge, involving 137,000 men. But their methodology seems pretty shaky, at least the way the Time story reports it. They didn’t test men for infertility, or keep track of their cholesterol or blood pressure. It didn’t collect any data about their partners’ health or fertility issues. How did they determine which men had fertility problems?
To increase the likelihood that all the men included in the study actually wanted children, the researchers excluded those who had never been married; by including only men who were married or had been married at least once, the researchers could be reasonably sure they had the desire and opportunity to have kids.
Riiiiight. Because all married men want children, and can have them. Unless of course they’re infertile. There are so many married couples who choose not to have children, it seems incredible to me that anyone could do a large-scale study of male infertility and use whether or not a guy was married as proof that he wanted kids, and if he didn’t have them he must be infertile.
A much more plausible explanation is the one barely mentioned at the end of the article:
Further, it’s possible that having kids — like being married or having a pet or a lot of friends — may have lowered men’s heart risk by boosting their health overall.
I haven’t seen all the details of this study, and I’m totally not a scientist. But the idea that having a family boosts your health seems believable to me than the notion that all married men want kids and not having them is a sign of low testosterone and infertility.
Photo: Alain Matthes