Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Working moms spend less time daily on kids' diet, exercise

Date:
August 27, 2012
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
When it comes to cooking, grocery shopping and playing with children, American moms with full-time jobs spend roughly three-and-half fewer hours per day on these and other chores related to their children’s diet and exercise compared to stay-at-home and unemployed mothers.

When it comes to cooking, grocery shopping and playing with children, American moms with full-time jobs spend roughly three-and-half fewer hours per day on these and other chores related to their children's diet and exercise compared to stay-at-home and unemployed mothers, reports a new paper by a Cornell University health economist.

Male partners do little to make up the deficit: Employed fathers devote just 13 minutes daily to such activities and non-working fathers contribute 41 minutes, finds the study, which will be printed in the December issue of Economics and Human Biology.

The findings are consistent across socio-economic lines measured by the mothers' education, family income, race and ethnicity.

To make up for this time deficit, working mothers are significantly more likely to spend time purchasing prepared foods -- takeout from restaurants or prepackaged, ready-to-eat meals from grocery stores -- which are generally less nutritious than home-cooked meals.

"It's inaccurate to pin rising childhood obesity rates on women, given that husbands pick up so little of the slack," cautioned lead author John Cawley, professor of policy analysis and management and of economics at Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

The study does not prove that employment alone drives the way mothers spends their time. "For example, mothers who choose to work might be those who enjoy cooking less and who would cook less whether working or not," Cawley said.

He added that working mothers produce additional benefits for children such as more money to provide for family needs.

"It's important to remember that we can take steps to enhance childhood nutrition and physical activity without advocating that women exit the workforce," Cawley said. For instance, the authors argue, parents should be better educated about the nutritional content of restaurant and prepackaged foods. "In order to make more informed decisions, consumers need to have nutrition and calorie information available where they buy their food," said Cawley, who noted that federal health care reform rules will soon require chain and fast-food restaurants nationwide to post calorie counts of the foods they sell.

Cawley noted that schools shoulder a greater burden for supporting healthy lifestyles.

"Our findings underscore the importance of schools offering high-quality foods and physical education classes," he said. "In general, the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging comprehensive changes in school environments to promote healthy eating and active living."

The research was funded by the Cornell University College of Human Ecology's Institute for Health Economics, Health Behaviors and Disparities and by the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John Cawley, Feng Liu. Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data. Economics & Human Biology, 2012; 10 (4): 352 DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2012.04.009

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Working moms spend less time daily on kids' diet, exercise." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827162011.htm>.
Cornell University. (2012, August 27). Working moms spend less time daily on kids' diet, exercise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827162011.htm
Cornell University. "Working moms spend less time daily on kids' diet, exercise." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827162011.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins