- Najja Parker The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Which parent does your child resemble most? If it’s their father, they are more like to be healthier on their first birthday, according to a recent report.
Researchers from Binghampton University, State University of New York and Southern Illinois University recently conducted a study, published in the Journal of Health Economics, to determine factors that play a role in the health of children from single-family households.
To do so, they examined 715 infants who lived with their mothers only. They then calculated how much time the moms and dads spent with their kids over a certain period of time.
After analyzing the results, they found that little ones who look like their dads are healthier at age one. In fact, those that favor their dads enjoy 2.5 more days per month with their old man, compared to those who did not look like their pops.
"Those fathers that perceive the baby's resemblance to them are more certain the baby is theirs, and thus spend more time with the baby," lead author Solomon Polachek said in a statement. "Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child."
The scientists believe their findings prove the role of a father’s time enhances a child’s overall health, especially for those in “fragile families,” they said. That’s why they support policies that encourage nonresident fathers to engage with their babies to help improve early childhood health.
“We find a child’s health indicators improve when the child looks like the father…The main explanation is that frequent father visits allow for greater parental time for care-giving and supervision, and for information gathering about child health and economic needs,” Polachek added. “It’s been said that ‘it takes a village’ but my having an involved father certainly helps.”