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Study Links Maternal Employment With Child Obesity

February 3, 2011: 11:50 AM EST

A study by U.S. researchers has found a significant correlation between the length of time a mother is employed and the body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) of her children. Researchers examined data from 990 school-age children in a national study, finding that for a child of average height, every standard-hours working period of 5.3 months was linked to a weight gain of nearly one pound beyond normal weight gain as a child ages. The association was  much stronger at 6th grade, the researchers noted. However, they found that nonstandard work (evenings, nights, weekends, or irregular shifts) was not associated with BMI increases. The researchers suggested that further research should focus on ways  to support families trying to balance work and family life.

Taryn W. Morrissey, et al. , "Maternal Employment, Work Schedules, and Children’s Body Mass Index", Child Development, February 03, 2011, © The Authors, Child Development, Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
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