Risk of obesity soars with family income
Children with wealthy middle class parents are more likely to be overweight or obese than those from poor households, a study has revealed.
The findings go against conventional wisdom that Britain's poorest families have the worst diets - showing the risk of obesity actually soars with family income.
However, this is the real story:
Researchers linked the problem to the rise of highly-paid working mothers
are often forcedchoose to leave a nanny or nursery in charge of their child's diet and physical exercise. - who
They were more likely to be overweight if their mother had taken up any work since their birth. Children were also more likely to be overweight for every 10 hours she worked per week.
"Long hours of maternal employment, rather than lack of money, may impede young children's access to healthy foods and physical activity," the researchers said.
"For example, parental time constraints could increase a child's consumption of snack foods and/or increase television use.
"We found that children were more likely to be overweight if the mother reported that she 'did not spend enough time with her child because of work'.
"We can speculate that these children may have had greater access to convenience foods and/or fewer opportunities for physical activity."
The study found children in childcare were more likely to be overweight or obese than those cared for by their mother or her partner.
In school-age children, those whose mothers worked were less likely to eat healthily than those whose mothers were full-time homemakers.
The researchers said that while breastfeeding had been found to protect children from becoming overweight in this study and others, returning to work early put many women off starting or continuing to breastfeed.
No link was found between the number of hours worked by the children's father, or mother's partner, and weight problems.
Can you imagine that? Mothering actually matters to the long-term health and well-being of children. And here I was worrying that I was wasting myself at home. (For those who may be passing through and can't tell, that was sarcasm.)
It should also be noted that children cared for by their fathers were healthier than children in daycare.
Families will need to rethink their dual income strategy if both parents are working to "give their children a better life."
On a side note, I would be interested in seeing the obesity rates for homeschooled children. Most of the homeschool families I know are very health conscious.
Related Tags: working mothers, day care, stay at home mothers, obesity, homeschool, public school