Working Single Mothers Have Higher Risk Of Heart Disease & Stroke Than Married Peers -US Researchers

working single moms heart disease

June 20, 2016 – Working Single Moms Have Higher Risk Of Heart Disease & Stroke Than Married Peers – US Researchers

Working single moms have a high risk of heart disease and stroke than their married peers.

Researchers have revealed that they were also likely to smoke than married women, a known risk factor of heart disease.

This is the findings of a study, published in the ‘American Journal of Public Health’. Losing the support of a partner – and a partner’s income – “may cause stress and result in unhealthy behaviours,” they said.

A single parent is an uncoupled individual who shoulders most or all of the day-to-day responsibilities for raising a child or children. A mother is more often the primary caregiver in a single-parent family structure that has arisen due to death of the partner, divorce or unplanned pregnancy.

In Nigeria, there are numerous cases of single working mothers which arise from unplanned pregnancies, high incidence of divorce cases, among other reasons. The research team, from Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands examined data on health, work and marital status for almost 11,000 women in Europe and 6,000 women in the United States (U.S) who were born between 1935 and 1956. Compared with married mothers who worked, single mothers with jobs were 40 per cent more likely to have heart disease and 74 per cent more likely to have a stroke.

They were also 77 percent more likely to smoke, the study found. Quoting the study’s author, Dr. Frank van Lenthe, from Erasmus University Medical Centre, the mailonline reported, “Work and marriage offer, or at least increase, the possibility of financial and social security.”

“Losing support from a partner, or the security of a job, may cause stress and result in unhealthy behaviours.” The other groups, researchers studied, were single working women without children; stay-athome married mothers and married mothers with jobs. In general, the researchers found what other studies have also concluded – that women who were consistently working, married and had children were the healthiest of all.

Even though being a single mother was linked with worse heart health, researchers didn’t find any evidence that this association was stronger for women in the U.S. than in Europe.

The study team adjusted the data for U.S. women to make their marital, work and parental status match the distribution for women in Europe. When they did this, the U.S. women’s risk of stroke went down by one percentage point and their risk of high blood pressure fell two percentage points.

This indicates the differences in ‘work-life trajectories’ between European and U.S. women don’t fully explain why American women have much higher rates of heart disease and stroke according to the researchers.

One limitation of the study is its reliance on women to accurately report medical problems and whether they are employed at several points in time. The researchers also lacked information on the number of children women had, family support, relationships that didn’t involve marriage and the hours or type of work done by employed women.

It is possible that financial factors influence the odds of cardiovascular disease, said Margot Witvliet, a researcher at Norwegian University of Science and Technology who wasn’t involved in the study.

[Source: Daily Mail ]