Working moms' kids prone to unhealthy lifestyle



The findings, which saw the participation of over 12,000 British school children born between 2000 and 2002, was published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. It shows that children whose mothers are employed are likely to spend more time in front of TV, do less exercise, snack on fizzy drinks and eat too few portions of fruits and vegetables, Daily Mail reported. In contrast, the children of stay-at-home moms have the most nutritious diets and enjoy more exercise. And compared to working women’s children, kids of mothers who work part-time follow a slightly healthier regime.

Researchers, however, say that the findings “do not imply that mothers should not work”. Citing lack of time as the main reason behind children’s unhealthy lifestyles, they say there is a link between employment and a lifestyle which leaves kids more at risk from obesity and disease.

 “Mothers who work full-time may have greater barriers to providing their children with healthy food options than mothers who work part-time,” lead researcher Professor Catherine Law said.

Researchers at the Institute of Child Health in London asked mothers about the hours they worked and their children’s diet, exercise and activity levels when the youngsters were aged five. They also questioned how long their children spent in front of a TV or computer. About 30 per cent (4,030) of the mothers had not worked since giving birth but the rest (8,546) were employed. On an average they worked 21 hours per week and for 45 months, Times online reported. The findings should not be used to undermine working mothers, but as a basis for more work on helping them, said Lucy Lloyd of Family and Parenting Institute.

She said a better system of health visitors, who could set advice on dietary and lifestyle habits, was in need of funding: “What they (children) are given outside the home will set the standard for what they will expect at other times.”

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