According to new research out of Binghamton University, babies who look like their fathers are healthier.
Distinguished Research Professor of Economics Solomon Polachek and his institution colleagues analyzed data from 715 families where infants only lived with their mothers, in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) study. Using private interviews with both parents, they measured how much babies resembled their dads. Additionally, they gauged fatherly investment based on each mother’s report of financial investment, time spent with the baby, and shared parental responsibilities.
Finally, to assess each child’s health the researchers relied upon mothers’ reports of indicators, such as the number of doctor visits for sickness since birth. The results suggest that father-child resemblance causes a dad to spend more time engaged in positive parenting, with fathers spending an average of 2.5 more days per month with their babies than dads who didn’t resemble their offspring.
That additional attention, Polachek and his team believe, explains why those same children were considered healthier at their first birthdays. While that may sound like a bit of stretch, Polachek measured that each extra day a father invested time in their baby decreased that child’s probability of having reportedly poor health by two percentage points.
“We find a child’s health indicators improve when the child looks like the father,”…