Being a single dad can shorten your life – study | Inquirer Lifestyle

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Being a single dad can shorten your life – study

Man and buggie in Paris. (AFP FILE PHOTO)


The risk of dying prematurely more than doubles for single fathers compared to single mothers or paired-up dads, a study of Canadian families published on Thursday revealed.


“Our research highlights that single fathers have higher mortality, and demonstrates the need for public health policies to help identify and support these men,” said lead author Maria Chiu, a scientist at the University of Toronto.


The findings, published in The Lancet Public Health, may apply to wealthy nations with similar ratios of single-parent families to Canada, the researchers said.


Chiu and colleagues tracked nearly 40,500 people across Canada over 11 years. The subjects – who included 4,590 single moms and 871 single dads – were, on average, in their early 40s when the study began.


Nearly 700 died by the end of the monitoring period.


Compared to partnered fathers or single moms, the death rate was three times higher among single fathers.


Factoring in that solo dads tended to be older, had higher cancer rates, and more prone to heart disease, the researchers concluded that their mortality risk was still twice as high.


Likely culprits include poor lifestyle choices and stress, Chiu said.


“We did find that single fathers tended to have unhealthier lifestyles,” which could include poor diet, lack of exercise, or excessive drinking, she noted.


Men parenting on their own were more likely to be separated, divorced or widowed than single mothers – a larger proportion of who raise babies conceived outside of a relationship, the team found.


Having experienced a breakup is a risk factor for mental health.


“These results show that single fathers might be a particularly vulnerable group,” Rachel Simpson, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, commented in the same journal.


Making matters worse, a 2016 study showed that go-it-alone dads – even if they acknowledge being in poor shape, physically, and mentally – are less likely to seek professional help than women.


A stiff drink


Single-parent households have become more common across the developed world in recent decades.


In the United States, for example, the percentage of children living with single mothers nearly tripled from eight percent in 1960 to 23 percent in 2016, according to the US Census.


The percentage living with single fathers increased from one to four over the same period.


In Europe, Denmark tops the list of single-parent households, which make up 30 percent of the total.


Of those, 23 percent are headed by women and seven percent by men, according to the OECD rich country grouping.


The corresponding percentages are 19 and four for France; 14 and five for Sweden, 17 and two for Germany; 16 and three for Canada.


Rates of single-parenthood are even higher in many low-income nations, especially in Africa, according to Joseph Chamie, former director of the United Nations Population Division.


Close to 40 percent of children in South Africa, for example, have their mother as the sole parent, and four percent have only a dad.


Other countries with a large share of single-parent households include Mozambique (36 percent), Dominican Republic (35 percent), Liberia (31 percent), and Kenya (30 percent), he noted in a 2016 report.


“Of the world’s 2.3 billion children, 14 percent – or 320 million – are living in a single-parent household,” he calculated.


In at least two categories, single fathers hold a slight edge over solo moms.


Researchers at the University of Illinois found that moms on their own make about two-thirds of what their male counterparts earn.


And a study in South Korea, published in PLOS ONE, showed single mothers were three times more likely to become alcohol dependent.                    /kga

  • benjiecantar

    It is the lifestyle and the stress..
    the woman, being the MOTHER, is more than willing to take care the child
    than the father..
    The father usually defines HEALTHY LIVING as 33% for the family, 33% for the career and 33% for the sports and friends
    while the usual mother is 100% family

    • furion, i am ANTI-CORRUPTION

      im a single dad and me like

      50% work
      40% daughter
      5% friends
      5% myself

      • aaa p zzz

        You have just one friend?

        On the other hand maybe you just consider most other people as acquaintances and not friends. In that perspective, you can see yourself fortunate as most people are arguably “friendless”.

      • furion, i am ANTI-CORRUPTION

        no.. just a typo

    • aaa p zzz

      You would be correct if you were talking about stereotypes.

      • benjiecantar

        yap the TYPICAL guy
        which the TYPICAL woman cannot understand
        Women are from Venus
        while Men are from Mars
        wika nga

  • aaa p zzz

    It doesn’t look like the shorter lifespan is caused by being a single father itself but by the cause of the singleness.
    What made these men separated, divorced or widowed?
    What made some of these men become physical and mental wrecks?
    What are the traits of the men who were successful as single fathers?

  • Rodrigo_Roa_Duterte

    This article is misleading. Men lived longer because the reason why they became single dads is because their spouses died first.

    • amus3d (samtayms)

      lol. funny mo….