Mothers' Full-Time Employment Could Contribute to Childhood Obesity

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A new UK study has found that the growing number of full-time working mothers in the past few decades is linked to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. However, the researchers note, even if mothers’ employment is a factor in children’s weight issues, it would only account for a small portion of the increase.

Read: Children of Working Mothers More Likely to Lead Unhealthy Lifestyles

The study of more than 8500 UK adults conducted by Dr. Leah Li and colleagues at the University College London found that the study participants’ young children were 50% more likely to be overweight or obese than in the previous generation. Children of mothers who worked full-time were 48 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than children of non-working mothers.

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Read: Parents Work Conditions Impact Family Food Choices

The findings do not prove that full-time working mothers contribute to the risk of childhood obesity. In fact, based on the data, they estimate that less than 8% of cases of childhood obesity is attributable to mothers’ employment. However, the researchers theorize that children of working mothers may have fewer family meals or less healthy diets in general, get less physical activity, and may spend more hours in front of the television exposed to food advertisements.

Read: Do TV Food Commercials Promote Childhood Obesity

Although working creates a time challenge for maintaining healthy habits, working moms may find the following articles helpful for creating nutritious meals and incorporating fitness into family time:
How to Plan Healthy, Low Cost Meals
15 Ways to Combat Childhood Obesity

American Journal of Epidemiology, online May 20, 2010

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