Fathers Play Vital Role in Health
It seems that fathers have a much bigger impact on their children’s health than previously thought. Much of the past research on family health focused on the role of the mother or on the parents as a unit; however, a new study from the University of Guelph in Ontario shows that the father-child relationship may be even more important.
The study involved more than 6,000 young adults, about 80% of whom described themselves as coming from a "high-functioning" family with good family relationships. It's not surprising that those who grew up in a stable family were more likely to eat a healthy diet, engage in regular physical activity, get enough sleep, and feel more connected emotionally. What is surprising is that the father-child relationship—especially in young men—has a greater impact on the offspring's health habits than the mother-child relationship.
More research is needed, but according to the lead author of the study, "Our results underscore the importance of examining the influence fathers have on their children and to develop strategies to help fathers support the development of healthy behaviours among their children."
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