Kids lower parents’ blood pressure

By • Published: April 22nd, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If soothing your crying baby and carting kids around is making your head spin, take comfort. Results of a newly published study show parents actually had lower blood pressure readings than adults without children.

Researchers writing in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine studied the blood pressure of nearly two-hundred married adults… ninety-nine married couples… over a twenty-four-hour period. The study excluded pregnant women and people with certain maladies, including diabetes, hypertension and psychological disorders, plus those taking medicines for cardiovascular problems.

Participants answered questions about their children, marital satisfaction, employment status and other factors, then wore blood pressure monitors while going about their routines.

The monitors showed parents had lower average systolic and diastolic blood pressure over twenty-four hours than people without kids. The differences in blood pressure readings were most significant among women.

When the scientists took into account other factors that could influence blood pressure, such as number and ages of kids, marital satisfaction, the subjects’ own sleep patterns, employment status and psychological conditions, there were no significant changes in the results.

The researchers said blood pressure measurements taken over a longer duration may be more accurate than their one-day readings. They also noted that most study participants were white and educated, and all were married. Other family situations or factors may show different effects of parenting on blood pressure.

High blood pressure has many negative effects, including kidney and vision problems, heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So when your kids are driving you crazy, remember: They may actually be good for your health.