Home Health Study says older women have better health at midlife

Study says older women have better health at midlife


Lagos – A recent study shows that women who had their first child between 20 and 30 years enjoyed better health at 40 than those who had their first in their teens.
The study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior of December.
It challenged a common belief that it was better to give birth earlier.
The journal noted that researchers looked at data from more than 3,300 American women for the study, stressing that women’s health was followed from 1979 through 2008.
According to the report, the women have their first child between ages 15 and 35.
It also said that they rated their own health when they were 40 years old.
“At that age, those who had their first child between ages 25 to 35 reported better health than those who had their first child at ages 15 to 19, or 20 to 24.
“There were no significant health differences at age 40 between women who had their first child in their teens or early 20s.
“While the study found an association between early childbirth and worse health at 40, it was not designed to prove a cause and effect relationship,’’ the report said.
It quoted Dr Kristi Williams, Lead Author of the research, as saying that the study was the first of its kind in the U.S.
“Ours is the first U.S. study to find that having your first child in young adulthood is associated with worse self-assessed health decades later for white and black women.
“This is as when compared to those who wait until they are over 24,’’ it quoted Williams, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University, as saying.

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Williams said that most studies indicated that marriage-promotion efforts had been unsuccessful in increasing marriage rates.
“Our findings suggest that it may be a good thing, at least for black women’s health.
“In the US, about one-third of all first births occur in women aged 20 to 24 and in most cases, these women are single.
“We need to be concerned that women who are having births in early 20s may face more health challenges as they reach middle age than those who wait longer,’’ Williams said.
The report also invalidated another widely held assumption which said that unmarried women who had children would be healthier if they eventually got married.
The study showed that when single black mothers later married, they had worse health at age 40 than those who stayed single. (NAN)

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