Link Between Working Mothers and Overweight Children

A new study is creating controversy with its claim that children with working mothers are more likely to be overweight, reported. The results of the study indicated that for every five months a child’s mother worked away from home, there was an 10 percent higher increase in the child’s BMI compared to other children the same age.According to researchers, this is the equivalent of gaining nearly one pound more than what a child typically would every five months.  Over time, these pounds can add up and eventually lead to obesity.

“We want to emphasize that this is not a maternal employment issue; this is a family balance issue,” said lead researcher Taryn Morrissey.

Morrissey and other researchers from American University, Cornell University and the University of Chicago compiled data from more than 900 children in 10 U.S. cities, with emphasis on children in grades 3, 5 and 6.

They speculated that the reason that these children gain more weight is because families in which both parents work tend to eat out more often, eat more fast food, and are more likely to skip breakfast.

The effect was seen most strongly in fifth and sixth grade children, who were more likely to gain weight than any other age group.  This may be because children at this age tend to have more independence in their food choices than younger children, the researchers said.

The study was published in Child Development.

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