Despite the stresses of parenting, anyone with kids can tell you there’s lots of joys to having children, like tax breaks and seeing their first steps. A new study adds one more benefit to the list: a longer life.

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Published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the observational study included Swedish residents born between 1911 and 1925. Researchers calculated age-specific death risks for people with and without children to see if there was any impact of being a parent. They found that people with at least one child were less likely to die than those without. This was especially true for older individuals. Subjects 60 years and older benefited from an increased life expectancy of two years for men and one and a half years for women, Medical Xpress reported.

A child’s gender did not seem to have an impact on the results, however, those who were unmarried with kids received even more benefit. The study authors believe it could be because children provide social support that unmarried parents may otherwise lack. Similarly, they believe kids provide essential support during a time of declining health, which accounts for the difference in longevity.

Previous research shows that there are other health benefits of having kids. A study at Brigham Young University showed that parents have lower blood pressure, despite the troublesome teen years, reports Fox News.

"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," says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, lead researcher, on the news site. "This doesn't mean the more kids you have, the better your blood pressure. The findings are simply tied to parenthood, no matter the number of children or employment status."

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Mothers receive additional health perks not seen by fathers as a part of childbirth. Today’s Parent reports that moms can thank their children for reducing their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. 

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