Having kids lowers your blood pressure

A study from Brigham Young University (BYU) said that parenthood – particularly for young women – lowers blood pressure.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom. But then conventional wisdom regards blood pressure as something different from the way medicine does.

A BYU psychologist, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, has had her peer-reviewed findings published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Said Holt-Lunstad: “While caring for children may include daily hassles, deriving a sense of meaning and purpose from life’s stress has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes.”

She studied 198 adults wearing portable blood pressure meters under their clothes for a day.  Parents scored 4.5 points lower than non-parents in diastolic blood pressure, and three points lower in diastolic blood pressure. and Holt-Lunstad says the size of the difference is statistically significant.

But she cautioned against people having more children. “The findings are simply tied to parenthood, no matter the number of children or employment status.”

Mothers showed the effect in a more pronounced way – with a 12 point difference in systolic blood pressure and a seven point difference in diastolic blood pressure. More here.