By Lola Augustine Brown
ecently published results of a study that followed 20,000 women for up to 21 years showed that more than half—54 %—lived to the age of 90, and one distinguishing factor these women shared was that they had had their first child at or after the age of 25.
The first of its kind, the study, conducted by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, found that having your first child later increased the likelihood of living to 90 by 11%.
Had more than one child? More good news: those who had two to four children lived longer than those who raised a single child.
Moreover, data from various other studies has found that those with multiple children lived into old age with fewer chronic health complaints. What researchers don’t understand right now is why.
It’s been suggested that mothers who wait to have children do so because they’re pursuing a career that will lead to better economic outcomes and improved access to health care throughout their lives. The UC San Diego study found that the long-lived older mothers were more likely to be married and college graduates and less likely to be obese or chronically ill.
“Our findings do not suggest that women should delay having a child,” noted lead author Aladdin Shadyab, “as the risk of obstetric complications is higher with older maternal ages. It is possible that surviving a pregnancy at an older age may be an indicator of good overall health and, as a result, a higher likelihood of longevity.”
An older mother myself, I can tell you that having little kids in my 40s made me feel about 100 at times—so it’ll be quite the reward to last that long!
Photo: iStock/Ivanko Brnjakovic.