Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 14 : The proverb 'The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering' is perfectly explained in a new study that says, parents, especially fathers, can expect to live longer than those who are childless.
It suggests that social support is a possible explanation.
The findings indicated that parents who had at least one child experienced lower death risks than those who are childless and that benefit of having children persists even when parents reach the age of 80 and over.
The results were published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
"Having children is associated with increased longevity, particularly in an absolute sense in old age," the researchers explained.
"That the association increased with parents' age and was somewhat stronger for the non-married may suggest that social support is a possible explanation," they stated.
Experts tracked the lifespan of people aged 60 -704,481 men and 725,290 women born between 1911 and 1925 living in Sweden.
The findings indicated, at 60 years of age, men with children could expect to live for another 20.2 years, whereas men without children could expect a further 18.4 years - an almost two-year difference.
Meanwhile, women aged 60 with children could expect to live a further 24.6 years, whereas those without could expect another 23.1 years - a difference of 1.5 years.
Both married and non-married couples benefited from having children, though unmarried people - and particularly men - seemed to enjoy a stronger benefit, the research also showed.
This may suggest that unmarried people rely on their children more for support, whereas married couples are supported by their partner.
Other influences for a longer life could include the fact that parents live healthier lives than those who are childless, the researchers said.
Biological factors involved in having children may also play a role.