Young fathers need support to improve health in middle age

Men who waited until their mid-20s to have their first child tended to report the best health in middle age, compared to those who started a family earlier.

What we asked you

Between ages 16 and 42 you let us know whether you had started a family. We then asked you to report on your health at age 42.

The research also took into account a range of information we collected from you, including your childhood social background, and your health habits in adulthood.

What the research found

Researchers from the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science and University of Helsinki found that those men who had their first children when they were 25 or older reported the best health in middle age. Men who had their first child before age 20 reported the poorest midlife health.

Younger fathers were more likely to be obese and to smoke every day in middle age, which increased their risk of poorer health.

Why this research is important

The report said: “Young fathers continue to be a risk group that might benefit from policy interventions. For example, young fathers and their children could benefit from support provided by professionals working in social and health care.”

Find out more about this research

The full scientific paper was published in SSM-Population Health in August 2019.
You can access a free version of this research paper through the UCL repository.