Babies Who Look Like Their Dads Are Healthier, New Research Shows

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Who does your child look like? Recent research suggests that babies who look more like their fathers are likely to be healthier at the 1-year mark. Huh? What? Yep, that’s right — looking like dad may actually have an impact on an infant’s health. Read on to find out how this father-baby connection plays out.

Researchers used data from the Fragile Family and Child Wellbeing study to look for links between appearance, time spent together and the child’s health. More specifically, they reviewed data from 715 single mother households. The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Health Economics, found that when the babies looked more like their fathers, they tended to spend more time together.


On average, the dads who felt their babies looked more like them spent an extra 2.5 days a month with their children (in comparison to the dads who didn’t feel their babies looked like them). Not only did dads spend more time with their look-a-like babies, but those babies were healthier and had lower numbers of health care visits (sick visits that is) than the other babies.

It’s thought that one possible explanation involves the certainty of paternity. A father with a baby who looks like him may feel more certain of the child’s paternity than a dad who’s pretty sure that the baby looks like someone else. Beyond this, it’s also thought that a dad who is sure of the child’s paternity will invest more time and caregiving into the baby. This could impact the child’s healthcare and health status.

What do you think about this father-child research? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

—Erica Loop



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