child development

Babies Who Look Like Dad at Birth Are Healthier a Year Later, According to One Study

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This is honestly one of the oddest studies I’ve ever read. New research co-conducted by the faculty at Binghamton University in New York suggest that babies who look like dad at birth are healthier at a year old. It’s a little more complicated than that, obviously. Researchers found that fathers are more likely to spend more time with babies who resemble them, which in turn, improves the overall health of the child throughout the first year. I just … what.

Babies who look like dad at birth are healthier at a year because the dad will spend more time with them? Science is so weird sometimes.

The research looked at relationships between infants and fathers who live outside of the home. The team of researchers used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) study. This study focused on 715 families where the baby lives only with their mom. The data suggests that babies who looked more like their dads were healthier at one year old.

Reseachers concluded that a strong father-child resemblance induces dad to want to spend more time with the child, engaging in positive parental behavior. Fathers whose children bore a stronger resemblance to them spent an average of 2.5 more days per month with their kids.

I have a lot of questions. See, my kids look SO MUCH like their dad. They’re Japanese on his side, white on mine, so you can guess how much they DON’T look like me. And … this is not the case in our family. According to Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at Binghamton University Solomon Polachek, “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.” OK? I wonder if the data only applies to babies? It just seems really odd, and to be quite honest, a backhanded way to shame single moms, gay families, adoptive families, and on and on.

Fathers are obviously a hugely important part of a child’s well-being.

But does an absent father impact a child’s actual physical health? And honestly, this study is sort of crapping on dads, don’t you think? Like your kid has to look like you for you to be sure it’s yours? I don’t even know. Just goes to show, even science can let us down sometimes.

(Image: iStock / monkeybusinessimages)