Parity and men's mortality risks

Eur J Public Health. 2012 Jun;22(3):343-7. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr024. Epub 2011 Mar 12.


Background: Most studies on associations between parity and mortality focus on women, and find a negative correlation or U-shaped pattern. If and why having children is associated with mortality among men is less clear. Our objective was to improve understanding of the association between men's parity and mortality, and to investigate mechanisms potentially underlying this association.

Methods: Analysis of baseline data (1991) from a prospective cohort study (the GLOBE study) with almost 17 years mortality follow-up among 4965 men, aged ≥45 years. Cox proportional hazard hierarchical regression models were used to link parity to mortality and to explore the role of socio-economic position (SEP), health behaviours and partner status.

Results: Fathers of two or three children [hazard rate ratio (HR) 0.85; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.74-0.99] and especially fathers of four or more children (HR 0.81; 95% CI 0.69-0.95) had lower mortality risks compared with childless men. However, this association attenuated to non-significance after adding SEP, health behaviours and partner status to the model.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that childless men have higher mortality risks in comparison with men who have fathered two or more children.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men's Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Netherlands
  • Parity*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors