Twins may spell "double trouble", but women who give birth to them outlive other mothers, a new report by scientists at the University of Utah has discovered.

The researchers claim that hardier women have twins, rather than twins making women healthier. They made the link by analysing the records of almost 60,000 women born in the state of Utah between 1807 and 1899, lived to the age of 50 and had at least one child.

They discovered a clear link between twin births and longevity, with mothers of twins being up to 7.6 per cent less likely to die during any given year, the report in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B claimed.

Researcher Ken Smith said: "This study has been able to identify - and it's a fairly novel result -  another important factor that contributes to health and longevity in later years, that women bearing twins appear to be healthier.

"This innate healthiness is contributing to their ability to have twins and it is also contributing to their longevity."

Posted by Robert Mair on 11.5.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com