SINGLE fathers are more than twice as likely to die early compared with lone mothers or couples with kids, a study claims.
Experts in Canada who tracked 40,000 parents over 11 years said it may be due to single dads being more likely to lead unhealthy lifestyles.
They ate less fruit and veg and were more likely to binge drink.
Lead researcher Dr Maria Chiu, of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the University of Toronto, said: "Our research highlights that single fathers have higher mortality, and demonstrates a need for public health policies to help identify and support these men.
"While our study does not identify the exact cause of this, we did find that single fathers also tend to have unhealthier lifestyles, which could be an important area to address to improve health in this high-risk group."
The researchers noted that social differences could also play a role in the increased risk for single fathers, potentially leading to increased stress and fewer coping mechanisms.
Single fathers were more likely to be separated, divorced, or widowed than single mothers.
After adjusting the findings to consider differences in age, lifestyle, health and socio-demographic characteristics, single fathers' mortality risk over the 11 years of the study was more than two times higher than other parents.
In Britain, dads head up about 300,000 single-parent families.