Survey Reveals Dads Face Challenges Maintaining Health and Friendships Study Shows Young Dads Struggle Most

Oct 26, 2010, 09:30 ET from

CINCINNATI, Oct. 26, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- While fatherhood is a major developmental period for all men, a recent study reveals the extent to which younger fathers have a more difficult time transitioning into the role, specifically as it relates to maintaining their health and friendships. In a survey of 1,000 fathers, conducted by Kelton Research for the online destination for dads, Man of the House, nearly four in 10 (38%) dads say that it has become more difficult for them to maintain friendships since becoming a father, and nearly half (45%) say they have a difficult time maintaining an exercise routine. The study illuminates how the arrival of a child refocuses men's thoughts and feelings about their relationships and their own health and how this process brings about greater challenges for younger men in unexpected but ultimately fulfilling ways.

Friendships Suffer More Among Younger Fathers

Dads relationships with their buddies often slip after the birth of a child, as two in five dads (38%) say it's been difficult to maintain friendships since becoming a father.  Younger dads  struggle the most -- over half (51%) of dads age 18-29 say they have had a hard time maintaining friendships since becoming a dad, while just over one third (36%) age 30 and over feel the same.

"Young men are rightfully focused on building friendships with other men. As men get older, the focus naturally shifts to their responsibilities within the family, and friendship networks become less important," says Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist and contributor. "Because of this, young men are going to be more sensitive about maintaining their friendships as they transition into fatherhood."

Young Dads Struggle to Maintain Healthy Lifestyle

A large percentage of fathers also find it challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the birth of their child. Nearly half (45%) of dads say they have become more health conscious since becoming a father, but the same percentage (45%) also say they have a difficult time maintaining an exercise routine.

Younger dads have a more difficult time making good choices about their health relative to older dads -- more than one in three dads (34%) age 18-29 say they have a hard time eating healthily while nearly three in 10 dads (28%) age 30 and over say the same.  Also, while 26 percent of dads age 18-29 say it is difficult to make routine doctor's appointments only 16 percent of fathers 30 and over say the same.

"Regarding physical health, the point of reference is different between younger and older men.   Younger men have a psychological need to be attractive and display muscle power, energy and stamina, rather then adopt a sensible life style -- most likely because they are focused on winning the girl -- known as mating effort," says Dr. Fisher. "As men get older, mating effort evolves into the parenting effort, and men become increasingly focused on providing well for the family, including maintaining their own physical health."

Dads Don't Mind the Sacrifice

For many fathers, this transition away from a self-focused lifestyle is the most unexpected part of parenthood, and many describe it as a fulfilling experience. In fact, when asked what surprised them most about fatherhood, a significant number of fathers spoke about their newfound selflessness and desire to put their kids and family above all else.  

While many dads are surprised by how often they "don't go out on poker nights" or that they never expected "giving up control of the television," their responses were often paired with sentiments about the joys of spending time with their family, even at the expense of their personal time. "I didn't think it would be as fulfilling as it is," said one dad, and one said he was surprised to "take my daughter places and enjoy it."  Another father said, "I always thought I would be too selfish. However, now that I have children, I love spending time with them as a family."

Featuring articles like "The Need for Manly Friendships," "Three Ways to Fit Workouts Into a Busy Father's Schedule," and the video series "Move It Fatboy," offers tips and advice for dads aimed at the jack of all trades dad trying to be better at work and at home, as a father and as a husband.  Editorial sections such as "Relationships," "Feeling Good" and "Money and Career" offer help for dads balancing kids, work and friendships in the midst of their expanded role in the family.

Survey Methodology
The dad survey was conducted by Kelton Research between June 4-10, 2010, using an email invitation and online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measureable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.

In this particular survey, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About is a new website from Procter & Gamble Productions, run in partnership with Barefoot Proximity, aimed at providing tips and advice for dads to help them succeed in their expanded role in the family.  The site features eight unique sections that help guide men through their everyday lives. Sections include; Around the House, Food & Cooking, Money & Career, Technology & Gear, Family & Parenting, Relationships, Feeling Good and Looking Good.

About Barefoot Proximity:
Barefoot Proximity is part of Proximity Worldwide, a global interactive marketing and CRM network with offices in more than 50 countries. Proximity has been independently ranked as the world's most awarded integrated marketing services network according to The Won Report. It is part of BBDO Worldwide. More details at:

About Procter & Gamble Productions:
For the last 75 years, Procter & Gamble Productions, a division of The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG), has been at the forefront of creating powerful, emotional relationships between consumers and brands. Through the development of original content, PGP has utilized the most advanced technology of each era to generate innovative properties, ranging from soap operas on the radio and early television to award shows to fast-growing web ventures. Current PGP properties include The People's Choice Awards and original content websites such as,, and