Health benefits may come from physical exercise and healthy diets but let’s not forget that they can also stem from genetic similarities. A new study revealed that babies who resemble their fathers are more likely to be healthier on their first birthday. That’s because fathers whose infants look like them may be inclined to spend more time with their kids.
“Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child,” said Solomon Polacheck, a professor at the Binghamton University in New York and co-author of the study.
According to Polacheck, fathers that perceive the baby’s resemblance to them are more certain that the infants are theirs meaning that they will choose to spend more time with their offspring.
The study, published in the Journal of Health Economics, involved 715 families in which babies live with their mother. Researchers found that babies who looked like their father at birth were healthier one year later. This would suggest that father-child resemblance influences a father’s decision to spend more time engaged in positive parenting.
The study also found that fathers who resembled their babies spent an average 2.5 more days per month with their child as opposed to fathers who didn’t resemble their infant as much.
Researchers claim that this extra time spent with their fathers led to fewer asthma attacks and health care visits for illness.
The study sheds light on the potential implications regarding the role of a father’s time in strengthening a child’s health. This can also apply to fragile families, according to the researchers.
The researchers also said that this study provides enough proof to encourage non-resident fathers to spend more time with their babies in order to improve early childhood health.
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