Men's Health

Happy Father's Day: Why being a father is good for your health

Me with my wife Katarina, my daughter Olivia and my son Ryan in the south of France.

Me with my wife Katarina, my daughter Olivia and my son Ryan in the south of France.  (Dr. Manny Alvarez)

Fatherhood is full of responsibilities and hard decisions – and sometimes it may seem that taking care of your children is ultimately wearing you down.  But, in fact, being a father is one of the healthiest professions on the planet.

Now I know all you dads probably think I’m crazy – especially those fathers who are currently dealing with teenagers.  But it’s true.  Fatherhood is good for your health.

If you were to sit down and look at all of the health decisions you have made since you became a father, I bet you would be amazed as to how many positive steps you have taken towards a healthier lifestyle.

First, statistics show that men who smoke have a higher rate of quitting when they become fathers.  Also, if you grew up not being physically active, once you have a child, you have no choice but to move in order to keep up with them.  And sometimes, this can inspire men to actually start doing some exercise.

Fathers, I bet you’ve seen a change in your diet, as well.  Gone are the days of Chinese takeout 11 p.m. or cold pizza on a Sunday morning.  Being a father means you have to provide healthy food for your child, and there’s no better way to get them to eat well than to lead by example.

But most importantly, the greatest health benefit of all comes from the love that you feel when you see what your children can accomplish.  And the unconditional love that they have for you – that love helps you to forget the ugliness in this world - will improve your mind and your outlook for the future.

To me, fatherhood is a privilege that should not be squandered.  And on this Father’s Day, I want to congratulate all the fathers who take their job seriously.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit