Men without kids may be at greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease

Men who don’t have children may be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, a study finds.

The study, released Monday in the journal Human Reproduction, followed 137,903 male married or previously married AARP members for an average of about 10 years. At the beginning of the study, the participants, whose average age was about 63, had no history of heart disease, and 92% had fathered at least one child. Half had three or more children. During the course of the study, 3,082 men died due to cardiovascular causes.

Men who had not fathered children had a 17% greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with men who had kids. Even having one child put a man at higher risk -- when childless men and men with one child were grouped, they had a 13% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with men who had two or more children.


The study authors noted that there could be biological reasons for the discrepancy: Perhaps the same issues that limited some men from having kids could also influence the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other factors could be involved as well: “Maybe having children causes men to have healthier behaviors, so fathers will live longer,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, lead study author and assistant professor of urology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, in a news release.