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Study Says Kids of Working Moms Unhealthier

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As if we didn't feel guilty enough, another study comes along to make working moms feel even worse.

kid watching tv

Children whose mothers work are less likely to lead healthy lives than those with stay-at-home mothers, a new U.K. study has found.

The Institute of Child Health study of more than 12,500 five-year-olds found that those with working mothers are less active and more likely to eat unhealthy food. The study is in the Journal of Epidemiology and Child Health.

They found that five-year-olds whose mothers worked part-time or full-time were more likely to primarily consume sweetened drinks between meals.

They used their computers or watched television for at least two hours a day, compared to the children of stay-at-home mothers, who spent less than two hours on these activities.

Working moms: Do you think your kids are unhealthier because you work? (Many of our kids would be WAY unhealthier if we didn't work ... because they would be starving!)

next: FBI: Outline of Caylee in Casey Anthony's Car
15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Marie N September 29, 2009, 12:22 PM

My answer to that is…tell those mothers to stop buying the sweetened drinks and junk food. If they don’t have it in the house they won’t eat it. As far as spending 2 hours in front of the TV or computer each day…buy them a Wii and get them moving. It works for seniors who need moderate exercise so it can work for kids. Besides…who is watching these little darlings? Or is there no authority figure present while mom is working?

Anonymous September 29, 2009, 3:06 PM

Instead of placing kids in front of a TV with a Wii…How about we do something unheard of these days….Let’s take them outside…for some bike riding, skate boarding or coloring on the driveway with extra large chalk :-)…

Working Mom…Who’s kids don’t watch 2 hours of TV in a solid week…

Anonymous September 29, 2009, 3:24 PM

I have to say BS to this study. I work full time and My oldest (youngest is only two)is in great shape and plays on a soccer team. I know plenty of stay at home moms who have fat children.

Kristin September 29, 2009, 5:01 PM

And the moms who work at home…?

Anonymous September 29, 2009, 5:28 PM

I’m a working mom and I would say this might be because we have more take-out, frozen dinners, etc. when I come home from work too exhausted to cook…which happens more often than I’d like. We do watch the sweetened drinks - no soda for her - but I’m usually too zonked in the evenings to do anything active with her either. If there is anything to this study, it’s probably that.

RachelAZ September 29, 2009, 5:55 PM

Hmmm, you will also find unhealthy kids with stay at home moms. Perhaps there’s a slight elevation with working moms, but give me a break with this whole debate thing. We all work equally as hard whether we are SAH moms or working moms…we just do different things during the day! No one needs to be made to feel guilty for their decision of working or not working!

Anonymous September 29, 2009, 9:59 PM

What would the British know anyway?

Anna September 29, 2009, 10:44 PM

It may be harder to make healthy choices when you’re a working mom exhausted after a long day at your paid job, but it’s a decision that’s up to you. I’m a full-time career woman, but I make an extra effort not to take short-cuts at home. Also, I try to avoid scheduling too many activities for weekends, so there’s less rushing and more time for relaxing and playing as a family.

That Guy September 30, 2009, 5:20 AM

I fail to see why this study would surprise anybody. It’s pretty much common sense that the children of working moms are inferior to those of stay at home moms. Working may be a necessary evil, but it does have an impact.

ame i. September 30, 2009, 7:11 AM

Many of my working mom friends cook in bulk on weekends & stock their fridges and freezers.
Stay-home moms, such as myself, don’t spend as much time at home as some think. That said, it isn’t that much trouble for me to cook extra when I prepare the evening meal & send it to my neighbors. It’s also nice to sometimes release a neighbor’s babysitter(with their permission of course) and feed their kids before their parents get home.
On occasion, having the kids bring their jammies & slippers with them & getting them ready for bed is appreciated. The kids can hang out with their parents while their parents eat, the parents don’t have to rush around as much.

mercaties September 30, 2009, 5:52 PM

My sister in law is a stay at home mom with three kids and all three of her kids are severly overweight. I work a full time job and my kids are in great shape and play on sports teams, I would have to say I completly disagree with this study. If they only polled fat kids who had moms that worked then of course it would seem that way.

cam October 6, 2009, 4:34 PM

it’s both a ridiculous study and one that helps remind all of us that when we’re busy we’re more apt to make short cuts in the kids diets. you can bet we’re taking short cuts with our own at the same time.

there are working moms doing heroic things at home and at work. this is a link to a few of them:

if enough people vote for one of these moms they’ll be in the 2010 mutual of omaha, aha moment tv campaign. it would be good for them to celebrate working moms.

please vote if you like them.



Black Iris November 12, 2009, 8:53 AM

For Heaven’s sake. It’s time to get past the don’t talk about that, it might make me feel guilty approach to news.

This looks like a solid study. It makes sense - SAHMs have more time to cook dinner. They can more easily limit TV time. There are probably exceptions, but most of the time, this makes sense.

Instead of covering our ears, why don’t we focus on what to do about the problem? Things like supporting women who do want to stay home. Creating flexible jobs for working mothers who want to be home after school. Hiring someone to watch kids after school. Asking husbands to pitch in more. Reminding ourselves, no matter what we do that home-cooked meals and exercise are good for our kids.

And let’s not forget - this study is good news for the women who do stay home. Let’s celebrate the work of anyone who takes care of kids, whether they’re paid caregivers or parents.

Jillian December 17, 2009, 11:15 AM

The Brits are seeing a huge raise in the amount of obese children period. This “study” is just a sly way of slanting already accepted facts. Anyone saying otherwise is just trying to lend credence to their already confirmed stance in the SAHM v WM debate. Grow up and just raise your kids to function in society. I don’t care how you do it.

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