Babies Who Look Like Dad At Birth Are Healthier One Year Later

Portrait of a parent and child bonding. Photo: Jamie Garbutt (Getty)

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Binghamton University and Southern Illinois University, babies who look like their fathers at birth are much healthier a year later. The research was based on the data collected from 715 families where mothers live alone with their babies. The fact that these children look like their fathers seems to motivate the fathers to spend more time with them which, in turn, has a positive effect on the babies’ health. It is said that these fathers spend 2.5 more days per month with their resembling kids than other non-resident parents. How does this correlation work, though?


Photo: Stephen Zeigler (Getty)

Although future studies might offer a more in-depth explanation of this phenomenon, we could conclude that having a father figure around for a longer period of time creates a pleasant and stimulating atmosphere. A child growing in a loving family is bound to develop more successfully, supported by both caring parents. In single-parent families, babies don’t get enough attention and therefore can’t achieve their full potential. An actively involved father helps provide much necessary care and supervision, which results in a healthier one-year-old baby. We still don’t know whether this trend continues past year one but, for now, we can assume it does.


Two adults and a baby boy holding hands in a polytunnel at a fruit farm. Photo: Mint Images (Getty)

This research was published in the Journal of Health Economics under the title “If looks could heal: Child health and parental investment.” One of its main goals is to raise awareness and motivate estranged parents to take more interest in the lives of their newborn babies, regardless of their resemblance. The health benefits of having a father figure around are not negligible and might help young, separated couples understand their parental roles more clearly. This paper, along with parenting classes, health education initiatives, and other activities can help improve general health of babies around the world.

Do you think that fathers are biologically programmed to love their babies more if they look like them? Is it something innate?