Working Moms and their Children’s Health
A newly published research paper written by a Cornell University health economist reveals that American mothers with full-time jobs spend about 3.5 fewer hours per day on chores such as cooking, grocery shopping and playing with children compared to stay-at-home and unemployed moms. It was also found that working moms are more likely to make up for this lack of time by purchasing prepared foods in the form of takeout from restaurants or prepackaged, ready-to-eat meals from the grocery.
Although these are generally less nutritious than home-cooked meals, lead author John Cawley states that it is not accurate to attribute the rising childhood obesity rates on women. The study found that fathers who were employed spend an average of 13 minutes a day, while non-working dads devote 41 minutes for similar chores.
Their findings were similar across different socio-economic levels, which were measured by the mothers’ education, family income, race and ethnicity. Cawley adds that their study does not prove that having a job alone determines how much time mothers spend on these chores. Besides, working mothers also help provide for their families’ needs with their income.
He clarifies that people can improve children’s nutrition and physical activity without taking women away from the workforce. The authors assert that parents should be more informed about the nutritional content of restaurant and prepackaged foods and that federal health care reform rules may require restaurants nationwide to label the foods they sell with calorie counts. Schools must also advocate healthy lifestyles by offering high-quality foods and physical education classes.
Cornell University. Working moms spend less time daily on kids’ diet, exercise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2012.