Babies who look like their father at birth are more likely to spend more time with their dad and, get more attention from them, and as result be healthier by the time they turn one year old, claim new research.
The study was focused on 715 families in which babies live with their mom. It found that these dads spent an average of 2.5 more days per month in positive parenting with their babies than fathers who didn’t resemble their offspring.
“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,” said Solomon Polachek, Professor of Economics at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
This outcome is not relevant to children who are born to a family of two parents that live together, as men feel more confident that they’re the dad of those children and spend more time with them, the study noted.
Polachek who co-led the study along with Marlon Tracey from Southern Illinois University added: “Having an involved father certainly helps. Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child. We find a child’s health indicators improve when the child looks like the father.”
“Greater efforts could be made to encourage these fathers to frequently engage their children through parenting classes, health education, and job training to enhance earnings,” said Polachek.
The paper was published in the Journal of Health Economics.