Mom’s Work linked to children’s obesity
The amount of time mothers spend working outside has an increasing effect on the children’s chance of becoming overweight, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the American University in Washington, Cornell University in New York State and the University of Chicago studied records of about 990 children in elementary and middle-school in various cities around the US.
According to the findings published in the journal Child Development, the total number of hours a child’s mother works away from home has a cumulative influence on his/her body mass index (BMI) -- the weight to height ratio used to measure whether an individual is overweight or obese.
"Every period of time (averaging 5.3 months) a mother was employed was associated with an increase in her child’s BMI of 10 percent of a standard deviation," the researchers wrote.
"For a child of average height, this is equivalent to a gain in weight of nearly one pound (half a kilogram) every five months above and beyond what would typically be gained as a child ages," the report added.
While the reason behind the findings remains unclear, the researchers suggest that working mothers have less time for shopping grocery and preparing food, a situation which may lead to the higher consumption of processed and fast food and also eating out more by these families.
However, the excessive time the children of working mothers spend in front of TV or their sedentary lifestyle does not explain the higher BMI values in the kids whose mothers spend long hours out of home.
"It’s important to emphasize that it seems to be the environmental factors associated with the total time that moms work, and not maternal employment per se, that contributes to an increase in children’s BMI," said study author Taryn W. Morrissey
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