A new study in the journal Child Development says the more years a woman spends at work after her child's birth, the more likely it is that that child is overweight. But before you start feeling too guilty, working moms, hear this: among surveyed third graders, the excess weight amounted to about just one pound.
The researchers hypothesize that a mom who works long hours is more likely to depend on high-calorie packaged or fast food to feed her children. Interestingly, the higher BMIs were not linked to more TV watching, a decrease in physical activity or more unsupervised time.
Taryn Morrissey, an assistant professor in public administration and policy at American University, who led the study, emphasizes this study wasn't written to bash moms, and that "the bottom line is that families face many, many constraints and that policies and additional research are needed to help balance health and family life."
Field said that despite the shortcomings of the study, there's still an important takeaway: working parents "need to think twice about feeding their families a lot of processed, pre-packaged foods."
The study didn't investigate what role fathers' work played in their children's weight, which makes us wonder if the children of working dads are fat, or why nobody would take up that question in the first place.
Working moms, do you find yourself depending heavily on convenient, processed foods? What’s your biggest obstacle to getting a health meal on the table?