Previous research has found a mother's employment is associated with an increase in a child's body mass index (BMI). A new study, sponsored by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and published by the journal of "Child Development" has now found a direct correlation between the amount of time a mother works out of the house and a child's BMI.
The study found that children of average height gained one pound (more than average growth), for every five months a mother worked -- the longer a woman worked, the more weight gained.
"Previous studies have looked at the relationship between weekly work hours and children's BMI," says the lead author of the study, Taryn Morrissey, Ph.D., an assistant professor of public administration and policy at American University. "Here, we went a step further and looked at the total number of years mothers were employed in order to measure the cumulative effects of employment."
A statistic from Health.comx puts this into perspective, "Over the past 35 years, the percentage of U.S. mothers who hold down a job while raising kids has soared, from less than 50 percent to more than 70 percent. The childhood obesity rate -- which is now close to 17 percent -- has more than tripled during the same time frame."
According to the study, working mothers are more likely to have over weight children because 1) working mothers face time constraints which result is spending less time on healthy meal preparation 2) children spend less time getting physical exercise, perhaps given their greater participation in child care and 3) children with working mothers spend more time watching TV .
"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," says Morrissey. "It is not the mother's employment, but the environment."
To read the study in its entirety, click here.
Momlogic wants to know -- as a working mother, do studies like this offend you? Does it offer help or hindrance? As a working mom, do you think your children are any less healthy than stay-at-home moms? As a working mom, what do you do to ensure your children are healthy?