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Lower income dads active in their kids' health
Date:10/13/2011

CHICAGO -- Lower-income, urban dads are involved in their children's health and encourage them to exercise and eat healthy foods, reports a new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. But these same dads may also give their kids the wrong dose of medicine and may be uncomfortable handling emergency medical care for their children.

This is the first study to examine these fathers' perceptions of their participation in their children's health care and well being. It's an important subject because men are increasingly responsible for childcare and, in this current recession, more men are unemployed than women. Little has been known about how urban fathers are involved in their children's health.

The study is a wakeup call to health care providers to include and educate fathers as key partners in their children's health, rather than exclusively focus on mothers.

"There are positive ways dads are involved in their children's health and negative ways," said lead study author Craig Garfield, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics and of medical social sciences at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and a pediatrician at Children's Memorial Hospital. "If we are really going to focus on improving the health of children, we have to include fathers because they are important. Getting dads more involved and more comfortable in their children's health and health care can create healthier families."

The study is published in the Psychology of Men and Masculinity.

Fathers make unique contributions to their kids' health, Garfield noted. "Dads aren't just male moms," he said. "They have their own ways of contributing to child development, whether that is through rough and tumble play or exploring new things and taking calculated risks. Dads want to be good role models. Yet they may not have had a model in their own fathers that they can base their behaviors on. We in the health care system n
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Contact: Marla Paul
Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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