Parenthood good for your heart, researchers say. Woo-hoo!
Contrary to popular belief, having kids might actually lower your blood pressure. Despite the often hair-raising trials and tribulations of raising a little one, researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah say parenthood has a positive effect on the heart akin to cutting out salt or taking up exercise. The study, published in the Annals of Behavioural Medicine, measured the blood pressure of 200 adults (70 per cent of whom were parents), and found that those with kids had systolic blood pressure 4.5 points lower and diastolic blood pressure three points lower than non-parents. The effect is greater on mothers, whose systolic blood pressure was on average 12 points lower and the diastolic seven points lower than their childless counterparts. As Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the psychologist who led the research 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.”