Young fatherhood may be a risk factor for early death

This post is inspired by an article “Fatherhood in Early 20s May Raise Risk of Midlife Death” at

http://m.livescience.com/51734-early-fatherhood-midlife-death.html

The article can be summarised by one sentence from it as reproduced below.

In the large Finnish study, researchers found that men who had their first child by age 22 were 26 percent more likely to die in middle age, compared with men who fathered their first child at age 25 or 26

The article doesn’t go into the reasons other then some speculation that the education and careers of young fathers being short circuited and thus being forced to support his family with lower paying and more dangerous work.

“…interrupt career plans and push young dads into lower-paying jobs, which could impair their health”

The factors will not known without further research but the results suggest that fatherhood and family life in general takes a toll on men. There are many stresses associated with family life and men generally have few resources and few people who will want to listen. “Be a man”, “suck it up” and “man up” are common put downs while the problems of women in general and mothers in particular are acknowledged.

This caused my brain to recognise a pattern. That this that since the 1960s and 70s the difference in life expectancy between men and women has narrowed from a maximum of 7 years in favour of women to 4.2 in 2014 in favour of women. In the period 1975-7 the average life expectancy of men in Australia at birth was 69.6 years and for women it was 76.6 years, a difference of 7 years. See

http://abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features10Mar+2011

Fast forward to 2014 statistics the life expectancy for men is 80.1 years and for women it was 84.3 years. See http://www.aihw.gov.au/deaths/life-expectancy/

Over this period the median age of first marriage has increased. See

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/2f762f95845417aeca25706c00834efa/a8d1bea8a2ff1b33ca2570ec001b0dc3!OpenDocument

This is a graph from the above site.

AusFirstMarriageThe observant reader would have noticed on the tables of the previous web pages listed that the  difference in life expectancy between men and women was narrow near the end of the 19th century and widening out to the 1970s before narrowing again towards today. This widening of the difference in life expectancy in the 1970s mirrors the dip in the median age of first marriage in Australia. See

AusLifeExpect

I can guess that the age of fatherhood would bare some relationship with the median age of marriage. It looks like that early marriage and early fatherhood are health compromising choices for men. If that is the case the Finnish study linking early fatherhood to more likely early death of males does not surprise me.

This highlights the need for more study of mens health issues in general. Trends in mens health are occurring under the radar without comment or interest. The narrowing in the gap of life expectancy for men and women is good news for men. The reason as I can see may be worrying for policy makers. The implications for the value of marriage for men and its cost in terms of the health of men are areas researchers should take an interest in. The implications for the MGTOW movement are obvious although I will not talk about MGTOW in this blog.