A new study has found that single fathers have double the risk of an early death than single mothers or fathers with living spouses.
“Our research highlights that single fathers have a higher mortality, and demonstrates the need for public health policies to help identify and support these men,” said lead author of the study Maria Chiu, a scientist at the University of Toronto in Canada.
The study, published in the journal, Lancet Public Health, monitored over 40 thousand parents in Canada for 11 years and discovered single fathers had unhealthy lifestyles. These individuals were found to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and had a tendency to binge drink more than other types of parents.
Approximately 700 single fathers died by the end of the 11-year monitoring period. The researchers also found that solo dads had higher cancer rates, tended to be older, and had a higher risk to heart disease. Even by controlling all those factors, the researchers still concluded the mortality rate of single fathers to be twice as high.
Men who tended to their children on their own were more likely to be divorced, separated, or widowed than single mothers. According to the study, a large proportion of single mothers had conceived outside of a relationship.
A 2016 study echoes the latest findings as it found that solo dads who acknowledged their sedentary lifestyle were still less likely to seek professional help than their female counterparts.
Chiu said that go-it-alone fathers might be less willing to allow themselves to relax than single moms.
More so, another factor that was thought to affect this group was poor mental health, as many single dads had experienced a breakup prior to their state. Widowed dads were especially susceptible to mental illness stemmed from bereavement.
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