Once a couple gets to know which parent is responsible for their baby’s looks, that’s where the obsession normally ends. However, a study has gone a step further and revealed that if your baby has gone on the father, they may have an edge in terms of attracting attention and deriving health benefits. The study emphasizes the importance of a father’s role in bringing up their child, suggesting that infants resembling their fathers at birth are more likely to spend time with them and in turn, be healthier by the time they are a year old. “Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child,” said one of the researchers Solomon Polachek, Professor at the Binghamton University in New York. “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,” Polachek added. Researchers analyzed data on 715 families in which babies live with only their mother. The research indicated that infants who looked like their father at birth were healthier one year later, suggesting that father-child resemblance induces a father to spend more time engaged in positive parenting. Non-resident fathers spend 2.5 days more per month with children they resemble, the findings showed. The study has implications regarding the role of a father’s time in enhancing child health, especially in fragile families, said the researchers. “We find a child’s health indicators improve when the child looks like the father…The main explanation is that frequent father visits allow for greater parental time for care-giving and supervision, and for information gathering about child health and economic needs,” Polachek said. The researchers said that this study supports policies for encouraging non-resident fathers to engage in frequent positive parenting to improve early childhood health.

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