Single fathers often eat worse and binge drink more than parents with more traditional family arrangements, and it’s putting them at risk of early death.
In Wednesday’s issue of The Lancet Public Health journal, researchers tracked more than 400,000 parents for 11 years to find out how single fathers fared when it came to their health.
After adjusting for differences in age, lifestyle, health and sociodemographic characteristics, single fathers’ premature mortality risk was more than two times higher than other parents.
” What we found is that single fathers have the highest mortality rate across these four parent groups,” said the study’s lead author, Maria Chiu, of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. “It’s a startlingly high mortality. They were three times higher than partnered fathers and single moms, and five times higher than partnered moms.”
Single fathers were also more likely to have cancer and cardiovascular conditions than single mothers.
‘ Men don’t take care themselves as well’
About 333,000 Canadians families, or 3.5 per cent of census households, are headed by single dads with one or more kids under 25.
Zohrab Mawani is one of them.
It really resonated with him when he heard that single fathers like him face double the risk of dying prematurely compared with partnered parents and single mothers.
” It leads me to think about all the time I spend alone and compare that with all the time that I did spend with my two kids,” the Toronto-based father of an 18-year-old girl and 13-year-old son said in an interview.
The 47-year-old entrepreneur has been separated and divorced for about six years, and says he juggles a variety of stresses including running a business, supporting his kids financially and trying to spend more time with them. He says he uses a variety of coping mechanisms.
“I made sure I kept exercising regularly,” he said. “I definitely feel that that helps if I’m at the gym every morning or go for my run every morning. I’m a runner, so that relieves a lot of stress for me.”
But he admits he could do more the way he used to when he was married and his wife would encourage him to take care of his health.
“I think in general men don’t take care themselves as well as women may,” he said. “It’s a generalization, but I don’t get to the doctor as often as I should.”
Chiu said the study findings suggest doctors should be on the lookout for their patients who are single dads.
“This is an opportunity for the medical system to identify these high-risk individuals and really to provide advice to them in changing their behaviours and lifestyle factors,” Chiu said.
In the initial questionnaire given to study participants, single fathers indicated they ate fewer vegetables and fruits and were more apt to binge-drink, defined as consuming five or more drinks at one sitting.
Doctors’ appointment could be a chance to engage vulnerable single dads to help them improve their health, says Maria Chiu. (Canadian Press)
The research study is restricted since the scientists simply signed in with individuals as soon as, so they do not know if anybody altered any elements of their way of lives, such as drinking routines, in time.
A commentary released with the research study indicated another element.
Dr. Rachel Simpson, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, stated that single dads had less social assistance than partnered daddies. “This absence of an assistance structure might offer a possible description for the increased threat of death,” she composed.
Simpson likewise stated it is essential to keep in mind the favorable impacts of having kids in the home, based upon a 2004 Swedish research study that recommended death was greatest not amongst single dads however in dads who were not coping with their kids and in childless males living alone.