A new study has suggested that grandparents play a crucial role in the survival of the human beings.
Their practical and financial support helps keep youngsters fit and healthy, while their love and ability to listen helps children and teens get through difficult periods such as the divorce of their parents, said the study by Swiss and Australian researchers.
They analysed previous studies from around the world to pin down the role of grandparents, the Daily Mail reported.
An analysis of records from Finland found that children whose grandmothers were still relatively young when they were born were likely to live longer than youngsters with more elderly grandmothers.
A maternal grandmother, a child's mother's mother, is particularly nurturing. This could be because they can be more certain than any other grandparent that the child is part of their genetic line, with DNA that has not been tainted by affairs, and so worth the investment.
Maternal grandfathers produce the second highest level of care, followed by paternal grandmothers. Paternal grandfathers generally show the least interest, the journal Psychological Science reports.
University of Western Australia researcher David Coall said grandparents may also be motivated by the thought of having someone to take care of them when they grow old.
Children don't just benefit from better physical health if a grandparent is around - the emotional support can also be of huge value.
Grandparents also benefit, with a study finding that grandmothers who babysat were more likely to exercise in the years to come.
The findings were reported in the journal Psychological Science.