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Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A European perspective

  • Gwozdz, Wencke
  • Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
  • Reisch, Lucia A.
  • Ahrens, Wolfgang
  • De Henauw, Stefaan
  • Eiben, Gabriele
  • Fernandez-Alvira, Juan M.
  • Hadjigeorgiou, Charalampos
  • Kovacs, Eva
  • Lauria, Fabio
  • Veidebaum, Toomas
  • Williams, Garrath
  • Bammann, Karin

The substantial increase in female employment rates in Europe over the past two decades has often been linked in political and public rhetoric to negative effects on child development, including obesity. We analyse this association between maternal employment and childhood obesity using rich objective reports of various anthropometric and other measures of fatness from the IDEFICS study of children aged 2-9 in 16 regions of eight European countries. Based on such data as accelerometer measures and information from nutritional diaries, we also investigate the effects of maternal employment on obesity's main drivers: calorie intake and physical activity. Our analysis provides little evidence for any association between maternal employment and childhood obesity, diet or physical activity.

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Paper provided by University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID) in its series FZID Discussion Papers with number 73-2013.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fziddp:732013
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  1. Michael Baker & Kevin S. Milligan, 2007. "Maternal employment, breastfeeding, and health: Evidence from maternity leave mandates," NBER Working Papers 13188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
  4. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Working Paper Series WP-02-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. John Cawley & Feng Liu, 2007. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: A Search for Mechanisms in Time Use Data," NBER Working Papers 13600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2009. "Child Care Subsidies and Childhood Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 4255, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Johnston, David W. & Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2011. "Explaining the Female Black-White Obesity Gap: A Decomposition Analysis of Proximal Causes," IZA Discussion Papers 5841, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Brown, Judith E. & Broom, Dorothy H. & Nicholson, Jan M. & Bittman, Michael, 2010. "Do working mothers raise couch potato kids? Maternal employment and children's lifestyle behaviours and weight in early childhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1816-1824, June.
  9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Maternal Employment and Adolescent Development," NBER Working Papers 10691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Phipps, Shelley A. & Lethbridge, Lynn & Burton, Peter, 2006. "Long-run consequences of parental paid work hours for child overweight status in Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 977-986, February.
  12. Emma García & José M. Labeaga & Ana Carolina Ortega Masagué, 2006. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity in Spain," Working Papers 2006-17, FEDEA.
  13. Michaud Pierre-Carl & van Soest Arthur H.O. & Andreyeva Tatiana, 2007. "Cross-Country Variation in Obesity Patterns among Older Americans and Europeans," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-32, December.
  14. Yee Fei Chia, 2008. "Maternal labour supply and childhood obesity in Canada: evidence from the NLSCY," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 217-242, February.
  15. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "The Connection Between Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: Inspecting the Mechanisms," Caepr Working Papers 2006-020, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  16. 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.
  17. Gennetian, Lisa A. & Hill, Heather D. & London, Andrew S. & Lopoo, Leonard M., 2010. "Maternal employment and the health of low-income young children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 353-363, May.
  18. Morrill, Melinda Sandler, 2011. "The effects of maternal employment on the health of school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 240-257, March.
  19. Jane Waldfogel & Wen-Jui Han & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 369-392, May.
  20. James Bishop, 2011. "The Effect of Maternal Employment on Youth Overweight in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 87(s1), pages 92-104, 09.
  21. 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.
  22. Liu, Echu & Hsiao, Cheng & Matsumoto, Tomoya & Chou, Shinyi, 2009. "Maternal full-time employment and overweight children: Parametric, semi-parametric, and non-parametric assessment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 152(1), pages 61-69, September.
  23. Lisa Benson & Manouchehr Mokhtari, 2011. "Parental Employment, Shared Parent–Child Activities and Childhood Obesity," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 233-244, June.
  24. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
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