Healthy Eating When Mom’s Out Working? Fat Chance!

Progressive commentators view the movement of mothers out of the home into paid employment as a very positive development. Consequently, these commentators have to avert their eyes when researchers uncover evidence that such a movement has hurt young people. Swelling the flow of evidence is a new study concluding that children whose mothers are employed full time are much more likely to be overweight than peers whose mothers are not so employed. At a time of deep national concern about the epidemic of weight problems among children and adolescents, this finding is deeply inconvenient for progressive social narratives. Completed by researchers at the University of Liverpool, this new study examines weight problems among children. Such weight problems demand attention, the Liverpool scholars believe, because “levels of overweight (including obesity) have risen and remain high among children in many high-income countries.” This rising incidence of child weight problems indeed now constitutes “a major health problem,” as a growing number of young people are exposed to the “increased risks of health problems in childhood and adulthood” consequent to their being overweight. As they consider the possible reasons for the upsurge in weight problems among children, the researchers focus on “parental employment, and maternal employment in particular, . . . as a possible precursor of childhood overweight.” After all, they note, with “greater numbers of mothers entering the labour market” in recent years, many mothers have likely found themselves lacking “sufficient time outside work” to handle responsibilities that have traditionally fallen to them—responsibilities such as “providing a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular mealtimes, supporting children to get involved in physical activities, limiting children’s use of screen-based activities, or walking rather than driving children to school.”  As they seek to de
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