A recent study in “Child Development” conducted in US, a country who is facing twin epidemics, Obesity as a national problem and an epidemic of child obesity, appears to be placing the blame for overweight children on working mothers.
According to lead author Taryn W. Morrissey, Ph.D., assistant professor in public administration and policy at American University, the study’s goal was to help working mothers rather than point a finger at them.
The study analyzed the data from 990 school-age children between the ages of 8 through 12; and found that maternal employment as such does not lead to increased child BMI [body mass index] or increased obesity — rather, the constraints working parents face while trying to negotiate work and family demands may give rise to the issue.
In order to be useful to the working mothers, the study makes suggestions that might help curb child obesity, which include: more information on preparing quick and easy but healthy meals, and making available more affordable high-quality child-care programs that offer healthy foods and physical activities. In short the study stresses on the need to start a conversation about how society as a whole can better support working parents; and how the working parents, especially working mothers, can make life style changes to allay childhood obesity in their kids.
To be practical, it’s wrong to see the findings of the study as vicious to working women with kids. Even though, the study doesn’t stress the role of maternal employment on childhood obesity; some simple observations will reveal that maternal employment may play a role in childhood obesity. As in the absence of any parental control (which means both mum and dad out for work) kids primarily indulge in these three activities:
1) Eat too much junk food
2) Watching too much Television
3) Remaining indoors and engaging in too little physical exercise.
All three are factors that contribute to childhood obesity.