Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Children of older mothers do better


Public Release: 12-Apr-2016
Children of older mothers do better
The benefits associated with being born in a later year outweigh the biological risks associated with being born to an older mother

Children of older mothers are healthier, taller and obtain more education than the children of younger mothers. The reason is that in industrialized countries educational opportunities are increasing, and people are getting healthier by the year. In other words, it pays off to be born later.

Most previous research suggests that the older women are when they give birth, the greater the health risks are for their children. Childbearing at older ages is understood to increase the risk of negative pregnancy outcomes such as Down syndrome, as well as increase the risk that the children will develop Alzheimer's disease, hypertension, and diabetes later in life.

However, despite the risks associated with delaying childbearing, children may also benefit from mothers delaying childbearing to older ages. These are the findings from a new study conducted by Mikko Myrskylä, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR),) and his colleague Kieron Barclay at the London School of Economics, that has been published today in Population and Development Review.


They found that when mothers delayed childbearing to older ages, even as old as 40 or older, they had children who were taller, had better grades in high school, and were more likely to go to university. For example, comparing two siblings born to the same mother decades apart, on average the child born when the mother was in her early 40s spends more than a year longer in the educational system than his or her sibling born when the mother was in her early 20s.


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