Is Having Sons Bad For Your Health?
February 27, 2013
Mom, do you ever feel like your boys may be driving you to an early grave? You might right about that.
Having multiple sons may shorten women's lives more than having daughters, according to new research.
The findings, which are a bit dated given that they come from a group of Finnish women born mostly before industrialization, suggest that cultural differences in how sons and daughters have historically been raised may affect women's life spans.
The study, published today in the journal Biology Letters, surveyed the records of 11,000 women and found that more sons were tied to shorter life spans after the final birth. But the findings are correlational: they don't prove having sons directly results in shorter lives for their moms.
And because the effect varies across the world, social and environmental factors, rather than biological effects, may be to blame.
"Adult sons may be beneficial for their parental well-being and thus survival in some countries, but girls may be beneficial in other countries," study co-author Samuli Helle, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Turku in Finland, wrote in an email to Live Science.
Do you have more than one boy? Does this news resonate with you? Sound off in the comments.