Study links working moms, unhealthy kids

September 29, 2009 7:10:17 PM PDT
A new study from British researchers found children of working mothers are less likely to lead healthy lives. The study found many of these kids watched more television and ate more unhealthy foods, while mom was at work.

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Moms are often referred to as the gatekeepers of the home, but when they're not there a British study found kids are more sedentary.

"I think it's very difficult to find people that are going to be as committed to your children as you want to be," said Robin Leiken, a stay at home mom.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Child Health. Full-time and part-time moms of more than 12,000 5-year-olds were questioned about their work hours and their children's diet and what happens when someone else is watching over them.

"Certainly they may be less invested in making sure that those little things like kids eating their vegetables or turning off the TV and having playtime outside, they may not go the extra mile in making sure that kids are doing that," said Dr. Nadine Burke, M.D., from the California Pacific Medical Center.

The children of stay at home moms were more likely to be walked or cycled to school.

There are others who don't blame working moms; instead they claim that education and family income are contributing factors to a child's well-being.

Alexandra Fortescue is a part time nurse. She believes it's about establishing rules and routines.

"I do feel like it depends on how you raise them. I don't have my kids watch TV and they play outside a lot," said Fortescue.

Lorenzo Scarponi is the founder of Slow Food San Francisco. He says working moms should incorporate mealtime rituals.

"Show them some simple dishes, start something simple. When they gather together with other kids, instead of having a party with Coca-Cola and junk food, show them how to prepare some food together," said Scarponi.

The study is meant to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

"Making sure the child is getting adequate nutrition, making sure he is getting enough exercise," said Scarponi.

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