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Maternal Employment and Overweight Children: Does Timing Matter?

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  • Stephanie Von Hinke Kessler Scholder

Abstract

Recent literature has shown consistent evidence of a positive relationship between maternal employment and children’s excess body weight. These studies have mainly focused on the effect of average weekly work hours over the child’s life on its overweight or obesity status. This paper attempts to explore whether the timing of maternal employment with respect to the child’s age is an important factor in this relationship. Data on a nationally representative British birth cohort are used to examine this; the 1958 National Child Development Study. The results show a significant positive correlation between maternal employment at age 7 of the child and the probability that a child is overweight at age 16. Additionally, the analysis shows it is full-time as opposed to part-time employment that increases the child’s weight. Subgroup analysis suggests this effect is driven by the lower socio-economic groups. Various econometric techniques are used to explore possible unobserved heterogeneity, but there is no evidence that the estimates are biased.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 2007. "Maternal Employment and Overweight Children: Does Timing Matter?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/12, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:07/12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Miller, 2011. "Maternal Work and Child Overweight and Obesity: The Importance of Timing," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 204-218, June.
    2. Price, Joseph & Swigert, Jeffrey, 2012. "Within-family variation in obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 333-339.
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5065 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Meyer, Sophie-Charlotte, 2016. "Maternal employment and childhood overweight in Germany," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 84-102.
    5. Zafar Nazarov & Michael S. Rendall, 2011. "Differences by Mother's Education in the Effect of Childcare on Child Obesity," Working Papers WR-890, RAND Corporation.
    6. 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.
    7. Thérèse McDonnell & Orla Doyle, 2014. "Maternal Employment, childcare and childhood overweight during infancy," Working Papers 201411, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    8. Joan Costa-i-Font & Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Julian Le Grand, 2015. "Vertical Transmission of Overweight: Evidence from English Adoptees," CESifo Working Paper Series 5351, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Lauber, Verena & Thomas, Lampert, 2014. "The Effect of Early Universal Daycare on Child Weight Problems," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100399, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Sophie-Charlotte Meyer, 2015. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Overweight in Germany," Schumpeter Discussion Papers SDP15005, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    11. Gwozdz, Wencke & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Reisch, Lucia A. & Ahrens, Wolfgang & Eiben, Gabriele & M. Fernandéz-Alvira, Juan & Hadjigeorgiou, Charalampos & De Henauw, Stefaan & Kovács, Eva & Lauria, Fabio, 2013. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity – A European perspective," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 728-742.
    12. 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.
    13. Peng Nie & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2014. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity in China: evidence from the China Health and Nutrition Survey," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(20), pages 2418-2428, July.
    14. repec:dau:papers:123456789/9524 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Datar, Ashlesha & Nicosia, Nancy & Shier, Victoria, 2014. "Maternal work and children's diet, activity, and obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 196-204.
    16. Costa-Font, J. & Jofre-Bonet, M. & Le Grand, J., 2016. "Vertical Transmission of Overweight: Evidence from English Adoptees," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    17. repec:spr:chinre:v:10:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12187-016-9378-y is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Florence Jusot & Sandy Tubeuf & Alain Trannoy, 2010. "Effort or Circumstances: Does the Correlation Matter for Inequality of Opportunity in Health?," Working Papers DT33, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jul 2010.
    19. Jens Bonke & Jane Greve, 2012. "Children’s health-related life-styles: how parental child care affects them," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 557-572, December.
    20. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2013. "Intergenerational and socioeconomic gradients of child obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 29-37.
    21. Greve, Jane, 2011. "New results on the effect of maternal work hours on children's overweight status: Does the quality of child care matter?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 579-590, October.
    22. Crudu, F.; & Neri, L.; & Tiezzi, S.;, 2018. "Family Ties and Children Obesity in Italy," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 18/09, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    23. Ziol-Guest, Kathleen M. & Dunifon, Rachel E. & Kalil, Ariel, 2013. "Parental employment and children's body weight: Mothers, others, and mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 52-59.

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    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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