Feb. 6, 2011
The more mothers work, the fatter their kids get. The solution is obviously to live in a world where, magically, economic necessity doesn’t dictate that two parents earn incomes in order to adequately support children. Be richer, moms!
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and a little place called “Cornell” (you ever heard of it?) followed 900 children and found that those with working mothers had slightly higher BMI’s than other children.
Increased television viewing wasn’t responsible for the change in BMI, nor was a decrease in physical activity responsible. Rather, researchers surmised that perhaps the uptick in body mass has to do with the interrupted sleep and eating patterns of children of working moms, since obviously fathers can’t be bothered to do stuff like feed the kids or make sure they get to bed on time or take them to school.
Harvard researcher Alison E. Field was a little dubious of the study.
“For one thing, we don’t know why these mothers were going in and out of the workforce,” Field said. “Some women choose to go back to work and others have to because they need the income. The reason the mothers are working can have a very different impact on how their families are eating, and that kind of gets glossed over in this study.”
Another limitation of the paper, Field noted, is that because the children were studied around the time of puberty, it’s possible that other developmental factors may have accounted for changes in BMI.
Nevertheless, Field agreed that a key take-home message for working parents is that they “need to think twice about feeding their families a lot of processed, pre-packaged foods.”
That’s right, poor people. Think twice about feeding your kids the only food you can afford to feed them or have time to prepare or can acquire easily in your neighborhood.