Unfortunately, what Molly Walker is saying makes sense:

Young children who had an absent parent by the time they were 7 years old were linked with increased risks of smoking and alcohol consumption prior to their teenage years, data from a large cohort study in the U.K. found.

Overall, children who experienced parental absence by age 7 were associated with a more than two-fold increased risk of having smoked or consumed enough alcohol to feel drunk by age 11 compared with those who were living with both natural parents at that time, reported Rebecca E. Lacey, PhD, of University College in London and colleagues, writing in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

 

We know that a major factor contributing to disparities in health among populations is where they live. In addition to zip codes, we now see another important factor: The daily presence (and absence) of parents in children’s lives:

The authors concluded that earlier initiation of risky health behaviors, such as smoking, may impact a child’s risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease later in life. In addition, earlier initiation of both smoking and drinking may increase the risks of nicotine and alcohol dependence.

“Early uptake of risky health behaviors is a feasible mechanism through which disparities in disease outcomes may emerge,” Lacey et al wrote. “Early life may be an important time to intervene in order to prevent the uptake of risky behaviors.”

 

Another study confirming what we already knew: Absence makes the heart grow… sicker.

 

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