Babies Who Resemble Their Fathers At Birth Become Healthier A Year Later, Study Finds

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Newborn babies who resemble their fathers appear to spend more time with their dad, according to researchers.

A study published in the Journal of Health Economics used data from Fragile Family and Child Wellbeing to see the relationship between the amount of time a father spends with the child and the baby’s health.

Why Babies And Fathers Have To Bond

The study reveals that the longer the father and baby spend time together, the more likely it is for them to resemble one another. The research suggests that fathers whose babies resemble them spend 2.5 more days in a month with the child compared to dads who don’t look like their offspring.

Spending more time with their father apparently improves the health condition of babies. The study reveals that babies who share a close resemblance to their fathers visit the doctor less often and they have fewer asthma attacks.

One of the study authors, Solomon Polacheck, has a valid explanation for this. According to him, fathers are more confident of their paternity when they look like the child. As a result, they are more likely to spend time with the baby.

Basis Of The Study

The study was conducted between 1998 and 2000 and involves parents residing in major cities in the United States. The research focuses on fragile families where the child resides with the mother and the father lives in another home.

The sample is based on 715 cases of unmarried parents who are not cohabiting. From that population, researchers looked narrowed down the observations to 456 instances where both the mother and the father agreed in separate interviews whether the child resembled the father. From the sample, 56 percent of the newborn babies resembled the father, while 44 percent agreed that the child did not look like the father.

Implications

This is not the first study to point out that parents who are genetically related to the offspring care about the child more. In fact, one study published in 2009 revealed that it’s less likely for biological children to be neglected compared to adopted and stepchildren.

Business Insider reported Polachek’s explanation on why babies who resemble their fathers and spend more time with their dad are healthier.

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“The main explanation is that frequent father visits allow for greater parental time for care-giving and supervision, and for information gathering about child health and economic needs. It’s been said that ‘it takes a village’ but my coauthor, Marlon Tracey, and I find that having an involved father certainly helps.”