Parental employment, family routines and childhood obesity
Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999 (ECLS-K) data from kindergarten through eighth grade, this paper investigate the relationships among maternal employment, family routines and obesity. More hours worked by the mother tend to be negatively related to positive routines like eating meals as a family or at regular times, or having family rules about hours of television watched. Many of these same routines are significantly related to the probability of being obese, implying that family routines may be a mechanism by which maternal employment intensity affects children's obesity. However, inclusion of family routines in the obesity regression does not appreciably change the estimated effect of maternal employment hours. Thus, the commonly estimated deleterious effect of maternal employment on children's obesity cannot be explained by family routines, leaving the exact mechanisms an open question for further exploration.
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