Parenthood: Good for Your Blood Pressure?

Lisa Nelson Health Pro
  • A new study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine has actually found a link between parenthood and lower blood pressure, especially in women.


    Researchers from Brigham Young University monitored almost 198 adults with portable blood pressure monitors for 24 hours. Participants were married, in overall good health, and 70% had children.


    Participants' blood pressure was measured with the portable monitor at random times throughout the day and night. By measuring reading randomly throughout the day it decreased the influence of "white coat" hypertension caused by stress and nervousness in a medical setting.

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    For participants who were parents the average blood pressure reading was 116/71 mm Hg. When other factors known to influence blood pressure were factored in, such as age, gender, body mass index, and smoking, parents had a systolic (top number) blood pressure reading 4.5 points lower and a diastolic (bottom number) reading 3 points lower when compared to participants without children.


    A larger effect was seen for women. Being a mother corresponded with a 12 point difference in systolic blood pressure and seven point difference in diastolic blood pressure.


    The results of the study were not tied to family size. Meaning the more kids you have does not necessarily equal a lower blood pressure. The results showed a connection between reduced blood pressure and parenthood.


    This study provides interesting insight into how not only dietary factors, such as sodium intake and physical activity, influence blood pressure, but social factors play a role also.


    Be sure to sign up for the free e-course 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure provided by dietitian Lisa Nelson.


Published On: January 22, 2010