Maternal Employment in Early Childhood and the Risk of Overweight in Adolescence

Atsuko Nonoyama, Alcorn State University
Pippa Simpson, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Jeffrey M. Gossett, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
C. Shannon Stokes, Pennsylvania State University

During the years when childhood obesity increased, types of food consumed by children have also changed drastically due partly to a rise in employment among young mothers who had little time for shopping and cooking nutritious meals. Furthermore, the impact of maternal employment may have been larger in already disadvantaged populations. This study evaluates: 1) whether maternal employment in infancy and early childhood predicts being overweight in adolescence, and 2) whether the effect of maternal employment on adolescent obesity is more pronounced among low-income households. Data come from women in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and their children. Preliminary findings do not indicate that the number of hours mothers worked during the first five years of life predicts elevated risks of obesity at ages 15 or 16, and this finding holds regardless of the poverty status of the household.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Applied Demography, Methods, Health and Mortality