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Babies who resemble their dads have a healthier start in life

Article By: Melissa McAlees

Infants who resemble their fathers at birth are more likely to be healthier children, but only if they are born to single mums, new research suggests.

Credit: Chepko Danil Vitalevich/

The study, published in the Journal of Health Economics, suggests that a close father-child resemblance encourages a father to invest greater attention in their children’s health needs.

Researchers found these children are less likely to have an asthma attack, visit the doctor or A&E department, and spend less time in hospital if they are admitted.

Dr Solomon Polachek, lead research author and research professor at Binghamton University, said: “Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child. Those fathers that perceive the baby’s resemblance to them are more certain the baby is theirs, and thus spend more time with the baby.”

Researchers used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) study that examined 715 families in which children (born between 1998 and 2000) lived only with their mothers.

The study indicated that infants who looked like their father at birth were healthier one year later, suggesting that father-child resemblance induces a father to spend more time engaged in positive parenting.

These fathers, on an average, spent 2.5 more days per month with their babies than those who didn't resemble their offspring, and were more likely to learn about any health issues that needed to be addressed, and to know if their children needed items such as clothing, food or other essential necessities.

Dr Polachek added: “The main explanation is that frequent father visits allow for greater parental time for care-giving and supervision, and for information gathering about child health and economic needs.”

For more information on the study visit:


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