According to new research kids who look like their fathers are healthier, but only if they are born to single moms. Sounds quite weird! As per the findings of the study when the babies resemble their dads, they are much healthier at the age of 1 as compared to the ones who don’t look like their dads.
So what’s the reason behind it?
Children who closely resemble their parents usually get more attention from their dads during the first year- that’s what the new study suggests.
Solomon Polachek, a professor of economics at Binghamton University in New York says, “Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child.”
However, the research was conducted on those children born to single moms. These children don’t live with their dads. In such cases, dads are generally found to be more uncertain of their paternity. This effect is not so likely to happen with children who are born to married parents and live with them. In such cases, dads are more certain of their parenthood and spend more time with the kids, as per the study.
The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study was conducted on a group of 715 babies with a shared characteristic. These babies were born to parents who were never married. They lived with their moms and would meet their dads on visits.
The newborn babies who resembled their dads would get extra days per month from their dads. So these extra daddy days resulted in the babies getting more adult supervision. Dads who spent more time with their babies were more likely to be aware of health issues of the babies that needed attention, and the basic needs like clothing, food etc, the research suggested. And this resulted in better health of those babies resembling their dads, at least when it comes to subjective health ratings by the parents, as well as hospital visits and asthma episodes, the research found. This effect finds its roots in evolution, the research suggests.
Polachek said, “Those fathers that perceive the baby’s resemblance to them are more certain the baby is theirs, and thus spend more time with the baby.”
As per the evolution theory parents spend more time and care for babies who show genetic resemblance to them, thus ensuring that those kids grow up and have their babies to whom they would pass on their genes, the research says. In contrast, as per the evolutionary theory, “ investments in unrelated children are deemed wasteful since they reduce investment in genetically related offspring.”