Having Children Lowers Your Blood Pressure?

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

In a study, women with kids had the lowest blood pressure.Credit: Getty Images

Here's a shocker. Having kids actually lowers your blood pressure.

No, seriously. That vein throbbing on the side of your neck notwithstanding, researchers from Brigham Young University and California State University at Long Beach have good news.

They took ambulatory blood pressure readings of 198 married men and women ages 20 to 68 over a 24-hour period. About 70 percent of the couples had children of various ages.

Guess what. The Annals of Behavioral Medicine reports the parents scored an average of 4.5 points lower than their childless counterparts in systolic blood pressure (when the heart is contracting) and 3 points lower in diastolic blood pressure (when the heart is in between beats).

"Women were driving the effect," lead researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, tells USA Today. "Women with children had the lowest blood pressure, and women without had the highest."


Mothers showed a 12-point difference in systolic pressure and 7-point difference in diastolic pressure compared with women without children.

Readings were taken while subjects wore blood pressure monitors that took readings at random intervals during the day, including while they were sleeping.

The Los Angeles Times reports that researchers took into account variables such as age, body mass, exercise, employment and smoking.

So what gives parents lower blood pressure?

The Times reports that this and other studies have shown parents benefit medically from the self-esteem that comes from caring for others.

"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," Holt-Lunstad tells the Times.

On the other hand, the paper reports, studies have also shown that being a parent also makes people more stressed out and vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.

Related:
Coffee and Your Blood Pressure
AOL Answers is no longer available
AOL Answers is closed

AOL Answers is no longer available.

As AOL continues to grow and evolve we are taking necessary actions to ensure our efforts and resources are
focused on the areas where we can create the maximum amount of value for our loyal consumer base. As a result
we have decided to sunset AOL Answers. Thank you for your participation in this site. If you have an AOL-related
question (passwords, account information, etc.), please visit our AOL Help site at help.aol.com.

FollowUs

Flickr RSS

TheTalkies

AskAdviceMama

AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.
AOL Answers is no longer available
AOL Answers is closed

AOL Answers is no longer available.

As AOL continues to grow and evolve we are taking necessary actions to ensure our efforts and resources are
focused on the areas where we can create the maximum amount of value for our loyal consumer base. As a result
we have decided to sunset AOL Answers. Thank you for your participation in this site. If you have an AOL-related
question (passwords, account information, etc.), please visit our AOL Help site at help.aol.com.