Obesity less of a problem for kids of mums who work part-time

Herald Sun (Aust) February 25, 2010

Young children whose mums work part-time are less likely to be overweight. Australian research has revealed that the offspring of full-time working mothers and stay-at-home mums were more likely to be overweight or obese. The finding has prompted a call by researchers for family-friendly work policies as an important means for promoting healthy lifestyles. Their findings, a world-first, come as the obesity epidemic has one in five Aussie kids being overweight.

The researchers investigated whether mothers’ hours in paid work shaped young children’s TV viewing, snacking and physical activity – and through that behaviour, their weight. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, of more than 2000 children aged four to five years and again at six to seven, they found children whose mothers worked part-time watched less TV and were less likely to be overweight. Author Assoc Prof Jan Nicholson, of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said part-time working mums tended to spend more time doing things with their children. “If both parents worked long hours, it was difficult for them to manage healthy lives for their children,” she said.