Depending on what study you read, I’m either fantastically smart for being single and child-less or I’m going to die younger than most men.
In August, a University of Louisville, KY study found that single people may die younger than their married friends.
The study suggests I will die eight to 17 years before my married male friends. Why? The researchers gave reasons such as being a one-income home, not receiving proper health care and not having that social support a spouse apparently gives.
“If you’re a couple, a spouse may be after you to eat better and go the doctor,” lead author David Roelfs said in an NBC News story. “Sometimes, it’s just easier to be healthier and less of a risk-taker when you’re married.”
Roelfs does admit, however, that single people can get some of that same support from parents, siblings and friends.
And by the way, single women don’t fare much better, as they could die seven to 15 years earlier than their female married friends.
Now, to further confuse you, the study said spouseless people who do actually live longer actually fare better over a lifespan. In numbers, that means the risk of death for 30 to 39 year olds is about 128 percent greater than among married people of the same age. But that figure decreased to about 16 percent for single 70 year olds, the study said.
So if I can live through my late 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, at least I’ll still be alive in my 70s!
While I’m alive, though, it seems I’ll have a more masculine life than my married, fathered male friends as a study released earlier this month suggests kids help to decrease the testosterone levels of their fathers.
“The men with the highest testosterone levels were more likely to become fathers by the time we followed up with them five years later,” said Christopher Kuzawa, a study author and an associate professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, in a Washington Post interview. “Once they became fathers, their testosterone plummeted, quite a bit, more than any of the other groups.”
According to the Washington Post, researchers studied the testosterone levels of men in their early 20s in 2005 and compared that number to one 4 ½ years later. Those who had reported spending three hours or more with kids saw the largest declines of hormone levels, according to the research.
“There’s a lot of folk ideas out there about what testosterone is all about, but in the scientific community there’s much less certainty about this,” Kuzawa said to the Washington Post. “It’s not clear, for instance, that the decline in testosterone that we’re showing is going to influence someone’s libido, or have major effects in a lot of the things that men would care about.”
So I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t, right? If I get married and have kids, my testosterone levels drop. But if I don’t get married, I could die at a younger age because someone isn’t there nagging me to see a doctor or eat better.
I take each of these studies with a grain of salt, though, as it seems neither study really looked at the economic and social levels of participants. A single man who earns a healthy salary will have access to better health care while a married man who isn’t offered health care won’t have that same benefit.
Married men who have children also could have greater health concerns as they focus on providing for their family and focusing less on themselves.
My question is, what happens to a single guy who has a kid? Does his testosterone levels plummet just before his untimely death?
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twoday magazine wants to know whether you would rather live longer, or be considered more “manly” than your married male friends with kids. Interesting choice! Find us on Facebook and share you thoughts.