New Study Says Adopting Children Can Help You Live Longer

Research finds that adopting one child seems to add three years to your life.

couple holds hands with black child they adopted

You've probably heard that having children can give your health a boost. Research has shown that being pregnant can reduce a woman's risk of certain types of cancer, and can often have a positive effect on overall health. But a new study published in the European Journal of Population has found that it's not only the physical act of childbearing that has health benefits; adopting children can also extend the lifespan of both men and women.

Kieron Barclay of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, and Martin Kolk of the University of Stockholm gathered data on more than four million Swedish women and men born between 1915 and 1960 to find out more about post-reproductive mortality. In keeping with previous studies, they found that biological parents generally live longer than those who are childless, so long as they have four children or less.

But they also found that adopting one child seems to add three years to your life, and adopting two or three adds another five years, so the more the merrier it seems when it comes to adopting! The mortality rate was also found to be much lower in those who adopted internationally rather than from within their own country.

Granted, the researchers cautioned that it's possible that people who decide to have children—whether biologically or through adoption—are healthier to begin with. So the study can't really confirm that having children specifically adds years to your life. But the findings do dispute the popular notion that children take years off your life and give you gray hairs. It seems that—in the end—they more than make up for all those sleepless nights!

And for more on the perks of being a parent, check out Study Finds Empty Nesters Are Happier Than Those Who Don't Have Kids.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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