There is extensive research highlighting the benefits involved dads give their kids. Now, a growing body of evidence says fatherhood is good for dads, too.
Your Local Health | Written by BJ Towe
In a recent Parents magazine article1, Marcus Goldman, M.D., author of “The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months,” said, “Fatherhood comes with a lot of great health perks. Not only does it inspire men to take better care of themselves physically, but it also fills them with a sense of purpose that genuinely enhances their psychological wellbeing.”
Since Goldman first wrote his book, a number of research scientists have studied the positive effects that come with being a dad. For example, in 2010 at the Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene, researchers concluded that fatherhood produces both mental and physical health benefits2. Among those, fathers were physically healthier, drank less, and had lower substance abuse.
Other studies report that dads are less self-centered. They’re more charitable to others. And they’re more responsible, meaning they are not as likely to engage in risky behaviors.
Because most dads want to model good behaviors and be around for their children, they are more likely to:
- Ditch bad habits such as smoking or drinking too much.
- Eat healthier meals and less fast food.
- Make exercise a priority.
- Get annual physical exams and routine screenings.
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Enjoy healthier relationships with their wives and children.
- Be more optimistic.
- Enjoy lower overall stress, higher self-esteem, and enhanced personal satisfaction.
- Stave off depression, anxiety, and mental-health disorders.
Involved dads apparently are also happier with their jobs, have less work-related conflict, and are less likely to consider quitting their jobs, according to a study published last October by the Academy of Management.
It seems that most engaged fathers say they wouldn’t trade their parenting role for anything, despite the added responsibilities and stressors. And now, research says they’re healthier for it, too.