Cardiovascular Death Risk Increased for Childless Men

Compared to fathers, childless men are at 17 percent higher risk of cardiovascular mortality

MONDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Married childless men have an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease developing after age 50 compared with men who have two or more offspring, according to a study published online Sept. 26 in Human Reproduction.

Michael L. Eisenberg, M.D., M.P.H., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues investigated whether number of children fathered could predict cardiovascular mortality among 137,903 men (aged 50 to 71 years) without prior cardiovascular disease. Follow-up was for an average of 10.2 years. After adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics, the association of offspring number with cardiovascular mortality was estimated.

The investigators found that 92 percent of the participants had fathered at least one offspring and 50 percent had three or more. A total of 3,082 deaths from cardiovascular diseases occurred during follow-up, yielding an age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality rate of 2.70 per 1,000 person-years. After adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics, a 17 percent increased mortality risk was observed among childless men (hazard ratio [HR], 1.17) compared to fathers, and the increased risk seemed to also extend to men with only one offspring. Compared with fathers of five or more children, the fully adjusted HR for cardiovascular death of this type was not significant for fathers with four children, three children, two children, and one child, but was significant for men with no children (adjusted HR, 1.21).

"Married men who have no children have a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease contracted after the age of 50 than men with two or more children," the authors write.

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