Marriage is the key to good health: UK report

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London, Oct 5 (UNI) If you are a cohabiting couple or a single-parent, then your kids are more likely to perform poorly in studies and healthwise too.

The Office for National Statistics of Britain says in an analysis that marriage is associated with better health, particularly for men. Females who are married and have kids are the healthiest, provided they are not lone parents. Divorce and separation can also lead to poor health, the study adds.

Children whose parents are cohabiting but not married, may perform worse at school and are susceptible to serious ailments, says the analysis based on six years of government data on family life.

''It could be that bad relationships rather than the divorce is what's making people unhappy and therefore ill, '' the Guardian quoted Mike Murphy, who collated the evidence on health in the report, as saying.

Adults who are married are twice as likely to provide intensive support for an ill or disabled relative as those who are cohabiting.

Regarding the study, York University's Social policy and demography professor Kathleen Kiernan said ''It is difficult to generalise about cohabiting couples, who may include people who are about to marry, those who oppose marriage and those who are just testing the strength of their relationship, which has become more acceptable in the UK in the last 30 years.'' According to Steve Smallwood, the head of family demography at the Office for National Statistics cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the United Kingdom.

London has the highest proportion (22.1 per cent) of lone parent families, making it the exception to a crude north-south divide.

Families are more likely to include married or cohabiting parents in the south-east, south-west and east of England.

UNI

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