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Parental employment, family routines and childhood obesity


  • Anderson, Patricia M.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Patricia M., 2012. "Parental employment, family routines and childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 340-351.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:10:y:2012:i:4:p:340-351 DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2012.04.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2007.123885_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Courtemanche Charles, 2009. "Longer Hours and Larger Waistlines? The Relationship between Work Hours and Obesity," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-33, May.
    4. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
    5. Chris Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Child care subsidies and childhood obesity," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 349-378, September.
    6. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2009. "The connection between maternal employment and childhood obesity: inspecting the mechanisms," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 227-255, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jo, Young, 2014. "What money can buy: Family income and childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Antelo, Manel & Magdalena, Pilar & Reboredo, Juan C., 2017. "Obesity: A major problem for Spanish minors," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 61-73.
    3. Mandal, Bidisha & Powell, Lisa M., 2014. "Child care choices, food intake, and children's obesity status in the United States," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 50-61.
    4. Wencke Gwozdz, 2016. "Is maternal employment related to childhood obesity?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 267-267, June.
    5. Roemling, Cornelia & Qaim, Matin, 2013. "Dual burden households and intra-household nutritional inequality in Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 563-573.
    6. Hanć, Tomasz & Czapla, Zbigniew & Szwed, Anita & Durda, Magdalena & Krotowska, Aleksandra & Cieślik, Joachim, 2015. "Growth and nutritional status of children from dysfunctional families with alcohol addicted parents in Poland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 101-109.
    7. Schuring, Jessica, 2013. "The impact of maternal occupation and pre-pregnancy weight status on childhood obesity: A comparative analysis of the United States and the United Kingdom," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004440, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    8. Joelle Abramowitz, 2016. "The connection between working hours and body mass index in the U.S.: a time use analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 131-154, March.
    9. Xiao, Mimi, 2015. "Intergenerational transmission and the effects of health on migration," Economics PhD Theses 0515, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    10. Fiese, Barbara H. & Gundersen, Craig & Koester, Brenda & Jones, Blake, 2016. "Family chaos and lack of mealtime planning is associated with food insecurity in low income households," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 147-155.
    11. Dolton, Peter & Xiao, Mimi, 2015. "The intergenerational transmission of BMI in China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 90-113.
    12. Walsh, Brendan & Cullinan, John, 2015. "Decomposing socioeconomic inequalities in childhood obesity: Evidence from Ireland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 60-72.

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