Friday, June 19, 2009

Fathers and Health

Happy Fathers Day! In honor of all of our fathers on their day, I thought it would be good to share some facts with you about just how important fathers are to the health of their children. Having an active and involved dad has an enormous impact on a child, from their education to their behavior. So, thanks to the great people at, here are just some of the facts about how a father helps us.

- Father-child interaction has been shown to promote a child's physical well-being, perceptual abilities, and competency for relatedness with others, even at a young age.
Source: Krampe, E.M. and P.D. Fairweather. "Father Presence and Family Formation: A theoretical Reformulation." Journal of Family Issues 14.4 (December 1993): 572-591.

- A fathers’ body mass index (a measurement of the relative composition of fat and muscle mass in the human body) is directly related to a child’s activity level. In a study of 259 toddlers, more active children were more likely to have a father with a lower BMI than less active children.
Source: Finn, Kevin, Neil Johannsen, and Bonny Specker. “Factors associated with physical activity in preschool children.” The Journal of Pediatrics 140 (January 2002): 81-85.

- Children who live apart from their fathers are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma and experience an asthma-related emergency even after taking into account demographic and socioeconomic conditions.
Source: Harknett, Kristin. "Children’s Elevated Risk of Asthma in Unmarried Families: Underlying Structural and Behavioral Mechanisms." Working Paper #2005-01-FF. Princeton, NJ: Center for Research on Child Well-being, 2005: 19-27.

- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, "Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse."
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, DC, 1993.

- Using nationally representative data on over 2,600 adults born in the inner city, it was found that children who lived with both parents were more likely to have finished high school, be economically self-sufficient, and to have a healthier life style than their peers who grew up in a broken home.
Source: Hardy, Janet B. et al. "Self Sufficiency at Ages 27 to 33 Years: Factors Present between Birth and 18 Years that Predict Educational Attainment Among children Born to Inner-city Families." Pediatrics 99 (1997): 80-87.

So thanks for the health benefits dads. Have a happy Father's Day!

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