Mothers have been warned of the increased risks of having children at an older age, but a new study has found their children’s health may be better off in the long run. New Zealand researchers found overweight men who were raised by older parents were in better health than those raised by younger parents. They published their findings in the Journal of Human Biology.

Researchers evaluated metabolism, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin sensitivity to indicate diabetes in 73 middle-aged, overweight men. They then looked at how old each participant’s parents were when they were born, and found that the older they were, the healthier the participant was.

In Australia, the UK, and most countries in Europe, the average age for a first-time mother is 30. The average first-time American mother is considerably younger, at the age of 25.8. Researchers aren’t sure if the health benefits come from the age of a parent or if it’s because of how a parent acts at an older age. Women are choosing to get pregnant at older ages because they’re focusing on careers to create a more stable foundation for them and their family. According to the study, researchers believe this is a reflection on “how seriously couples take the responsibility of having children in the 21st century.”

Maybe having children at an older age has more advantages than disadvantages. In a 2012 study conducted in California, 80 percent of the female and 70 percent of the male participants said the optimal age for becoming a parent was in their 30s. "A majority of women and men in the study believed that childbearing later in life resulted in advantages for themselves and their families," the researchers wrote.

Laying a solid foundation for a child before bringing them into the world may mean waiting until your 30s. It takes time and money to be knowledgeable and able to afford the types of food (and nutrients) that a mother and child need to grow strong brains and bodies. Those without job security, who tend to be younger parents, make it difficult (though not impossible) to raise a healthy baby into adulthood.

Being an overweight adult doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unhealthy either. Researchers based normal to overweight participants on the body mass index, which calculates height to weight. However, it neglects to measure fat, which is the key ingredient in raising blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes risk. The limitations in this study demand researchers return to the drawing board and investigate further the reason why older parents raise healthier overweight men. In doing so, they may be able to find out if the same is true for women.

Source: Cutfield WS, Albert BB, De Bock M, et al. Increasing parental age at childbirth is associated with greater insulin sensitivity and more favorable metabolic profile in overweight adult male offspring. Journal of Human Biology. 2014.