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Good Question: Is Parenthood Good For Your Health?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Father’s Day is just days away.

So, is parenthood good for your health?

Despite sleep deprivation and schedule changes, a study conducted by the Oregon Social Learning Center shows that fatherhood has mental and physical health benefits.

The 18-month study focused on 230 divorced fathers, and it showed that when they were more involved with their kids they ate better, drank less, and had lower substance abuse.

“I think in general, people make better decisions about their own health and safety when they have kids,” said Dr. Gigi Chawla of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Chawla said dads often start taking better care of themselves so that they can take better care of their kids.

A five year study focusing on fathers in the Philippines shows testosterone levels drop in some men when they become dads.

“Dads are very emotional about their children,” Chawla said. “They become softer.”

And for others, the risk-taking just isn’t what it used to be. Staying home with the kids may be a substitute for sky-diving.

“I try and enjoy the life, but just taper it down a little bit,” said Mike Block, a father of six kids.

Block is as active as ever, but the risks are now calculated.

“I might still do those things, but I might think about it more now,” Block said. “I want to still live life, but just be more calculated with the risks.”

Experts say one of the very first things a lot of first-time parents do is stop smoking, adding they also make a more conscious effort to wear their seatbelts and they pay attention to what they are buying at the grocery store,

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