Child Obesity and working mothers: Any connection?



Do the kids of a working mother tend to put on more weight and are prone towards child obesity in comparison to stay-at home moms? A highly debatable issue!

A recent research in England spanning two generations proves that actually kids of working mothers do have more chances of putting on weight and become a victim of child obesity.

In order to study the association between child obesity and working mothers, researchers followed and observed a group of people since their birth in 1958. According to a report by the BBC, the researchers studied 8,552 individuals who had 1,889 children by 1991 between the ages 4 to 9.

There was a consistent rise in the rates of full time working mothers and child obesity, moving from one generation to the other. In 1991, 60 percent of the mothers were working as compared to 45 in 1965. A simultaneous increase was observed in kids suffering from child obesity, that is nearly 12 percent in 1991 from a mere 5 to 7 percent, back in 1965. The children currently were found to be more overweight as compared to those in 1965.

The study found two factors to be playing a major role in the child obesity, namely parents’ present weight and mother’ employment. Children of full time working mothers were at a 48 percent higher risk to suffer from child obesity in comparison to children of non-working mothers taking into account a couple of other contributing factors like parents’ weight and breast feeding.

The report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology accepts that although mother’s employment status did not affect the child’s weight per se’ but related factors do have a role to play in child obesity. The researchers revealed that obesity in children is highly affected by the stupendous growth in the employment among women. Even after the child birth, they return to their respective jobs, thus enhancing the prevalence of child obesity.

Researcher Dr Leah Li further added, “The high prevalence of child obesity is likely to result in further increases in adult obesity and associated health consequences.”

A few points that work against the working women are:

  • Full time employment leaves women with lesser time in hand to prepare healthy meals for the kids
  • The kids of working women spend a lot of time alone with easy access to sugary snacks and junk food that form a major factor of child obesity.
  • Working mothers are more likely to drive their kids to school due to paucity of time.

The current phenomenon of working mothers is here to stay and yet the relation between employment status of the mother and the child cannot be denied. So what’s the best way out of the problem? The only solution seems an advice for the working mothers to more efficiently manage their work and devote enough time to their kids to prevent them from falling into the traps of child obesity.

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