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They Say: Kids Lower Your Blood Pressure

blood-pressure-cuffAdd this study to the list of those done by people who probably never had kids: researchers are now saying parenting can lower your blood pressure.

Obviously they haven’t thrown a cuff around the arm of a parent who just found black permanent marker scrawled from one end of the bathroom to the other.

The study comes out of Brigham Young University in Utah, where Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a BYU psychologist, explains, “While caring for children may include daily hassles, deriving a sense of meaning and purpose from life’s stress has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes.”

The small study looked at just under two hundred patients, who were monitored by portable blood pressure machines for a twenty-four hour stint. Parents scored 4.5 points lower than non-parents in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and 3 points lower than non-parents in diastolic blood pressure.

Becoming a parent isn’t the key to heart health – the researchers point to a good diet and exercise as well – but they’re encouraged to find social factors may have positive benefits.

And parents, next time you get the feeling that your kids are really just teaching you how high your blood pressure can go before you stroke out, have heart – all that stress could be good for you.

Image: House of Sims via flickr

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