Parenthood Lowers Blood Pressure?

Hmm, I’m going to let you guys stew on that title while I take a moment to use a classic pop culture term from my generation, as if!

It was hard to read this original story between fits of uncontrollable laughter. Apparently a study done at Brigham Young University found, after observing 198 adults who wore portable blood pressure monitors for 24 hours, those who had children had a lower reading then those without children. And oddly enough, the effect was even stronger in the women who took part.

Lead researcher Dr Julianne Holt-Lunstad had this to say,

“While caring for children may include hassles, deriving a sense of meaning and purpose from life’s stress has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes.”

Ok, I guess on some level I can get what Dr. Holt-Lunstad is saying, but as a mom of two, I can’t help but repeating, as if!

Not that I would change being a mom for anything in the world, but I would be lying if I said I was I it for a lower blood pressure…And I also have to wonder how old the kids were of the parents in this study. Because mine are four and six, but from what I gather the stress level only increases as they age and become teenagers so…

I have only two theories that make sense to me.

  1. The parents involved in the study were just so damn happy to be out of the house and hanging out at a University for the day without their kids, that they automatically felt less stressed.
  2. That somehow living in a constant state of chaos somehow achieves some sort of inner calmness, much like what they say it’s like in the eye of a hurricane.

Either way the whole study strikes me as odd. Then again with as many “calgon, take me away” moments I have in any given day I wouldn’t trade a second of it. And how good my kids are for my heart is not exactly news…

What do you think, has parenting done wonders for your blood pressure or are these folks at Brigham Young sipping the crazy sauce?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 16:12:04

    I wonder what they did while using these “portable” blood pressure measuring devices. Were they allowed to go on about their lives in their same usual manner for the 24-hour period? Because, if so, I would guess that all the readings throughout the day were then averaged to come up with one number and then that number was used for comparison. Am I wrong to assume that it’s likely non-parents do some more “exciting” things, things which are known to raise blood pressure? Driving faster, having sex (admit it, as a parent, that doesn’t happen as often), PARTYING, drinking, hanging out with friends (even light joking and laughing can cause a bit of a raise in blood pressure periodically). These things are sometimes considerably more “exciting” and therefore, can be the culprits in raising blood pressure in the non-parents.

    Just a theory.

    Reply

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