How does fathers' physical and mental health status impact their children?
A new study has shown that children of fathers with poor mental health had a 2.6 times greater risk of having poor mental health. The study, which also found a 3.1 times higher risk of poor overall health among children of fathers with poor overall health, is published in Health Equity.
The article entitled "Father's Health Status and Inequalities in Physical and Mental Health of U.S. Children: A Population-Based Study" was coauthored by Romuladus Azuine, DrPH, MPH, RN, and Gopal Singh, Ph.D., MSc, MS, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD. The findings highlight the significant role fathers play in the physical and mental well-being of their children. The researchers discuss the implications of the study, and particularly the potential for interventions that would improve the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children.
"Azuine's and Singh's work highlights the need for researching sex and gender differences. The maternal influence on a child is viewed as a 'given,' yet chromosomally a child is half their father," says Health Equity Editor-in-Chief Ana E. Núñez, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA. "Our better understanding of paternal influence is essential in seeing the whole picture. These researchers' important work has significant implications for fleshing out healthy pediatric development."