Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How parents juggle work hours may influence kids' weight

Date:
August 19, 2014
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
The way parents balance their work schedules may affect their adolescent children's eating habits, according to researchers. For example, parents who spend time with their adolescent kids after school may increase the likelihood that those children will eat regular dinners, according to the researchers. Adolescents having mothers who stay home before school are more likely to eat breakfast. Regular meals at home can help children and adolescents avoid weight problems.

The way parents balance their work schedules may affect their adolescent children's eating habits, according to Penn State researchers. Those schedules may be even more important than the number of hours the parents spend at work, said Molly Martin, associate professor of sociology and demography.

Related Articles


Adolescents with moms and dads who spend more time at home, especially at breakfast and dinner time, generally have healthier eating behaviors and in some cases better exercise habits than most adolescents, according to the researchers.

For example, parents who spend time with their adolescent kids after school may increase the likelihood that those children will eat regular dinners, according to the researchers. Adolescents having mothers who stay home before school are more likely to eat breakfast.

Regular meals at home can help children and adolescents avoid weight problems, Martin said.

"Eating at home can help control portion sizes, for example, and if they don't eat breakfast at home, they might be more likely to eat junk food later in the day," she said.

Eating a regular breakfast is an important habit for parents to instill in their children, Martin said, adding that it can have long-term health benefits.

"Most parents might not consider eating breakfast as a health-related behavior, but it is one of the most important meals that helps kids maintain metabolism throughout the day," Martin said. She added that children, particularly daughters, who watch their parents skip breakfasts may be more likely to do the same.

A father's availability at home may also play an important role in influencing healthy weight behaviors, according to the researchers, who will report their findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

"Fathers' availability significantly predicted whether or not children played sports or exercised," said Martin, who worked with Adam Lippert, a former doctoral student in sociology and demography at Penn State and now a postdoctoral scholar in population and development studies at Harvard University; Kelly Davis, research assistant professor of human development and family studies; and Megan Lemmon, graduate student in sociology and demography, both at Penn State.

When fathers were at home, their children were more likely to eat fruit, Martin added.

Parents are actually spending more time with their children now than a few decades ago. They have shifted priorities from spending time on household chores to using that time to be with their children. Some of these scheduling adaptations may have improved their children's eating behaviors.

"It's probably not an entirely conscious decision parents make to spend time with their children to improve their children's eating habits," Martin said. "Parents want to spend time with their children and are feeling more of a societal push to do so, so they often choose times around their work schedules and their children's school hours."

Economic and social changes, such as flexible work schedules, telecommuting and greater social expectations that parents will spend more time with their kids, have increased parental availability to children.

The researchers studied data of 16,991 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The data set is one of the few that allowed the researchers to examine parental availability and adolescents' eating habits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. The original article was written by Matt Swayne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "How parents juggle work hours may influence kids' weight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819200215.htm>.
Penn State. (2014, August 19). How parents juggle work hours may influence kids' weight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819200215.htm
Penn State. "How parents juggle work hours may influence kids' weight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819200215.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. 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