Could having a mom who works outside the home have an effect on a child's waistline? Maybe, according to a new study of 900 elementary school children from 10 cities across the United States.
Researchers at American University, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago found that children's body mass index (BMI) - a measure of their weight-for-height - rose the more years their mothers worked over their children's lifetimes.
The findings were strongest among children in 5th and 6th grades, according to this Science Daily report.
The link may be because working parents have less time to shop for groceries and food prep, the researchers suggest. High-calorie restaurant and take-out dinners could be another factor. The study controlled for changes in children's physical activity, time spent unsupervised, time spent watching TV and the time of day moms worked.
Given that a majority of moms in North America work outside of the home, the researchers say their findings could help spur reform.
"Community- and school-based programs offer promise for promoting healthy weight by providing information to children and their families about nutrition and exercise, as well as how to make quick, healthy meals," study lead Taryn W. Morrissey, assistant professor in public administration and policy at American University said in a release.
Fair enough. But are these results likely to show up on the Mommy Wars battlefield?
Are children of stay-at-home-moms really eating better?