Working Mums 'Do Not Spend Enough Time On Their Kids' Diet And Exercise'

28/08/2012 12:37 | Updated 22 May 2015
Working mums do not feed their children properly!PA

Working mums now have something else to feel guilty about - their kids' diet and exercise!

A study has found that mums in America with full time jobs spend around three and a half fewer hours a day on chores like cooking, grocery shopping and playing with their children compared to stay-at-home mothers.

The paper by a health economist at Cornell University concludes that working mums spend less time on their children's diet and exercise than non-working or home based mums.

Dads do not fair much better, with working fathers devoting only 13 minutes a day to such activities, with unemployed dads spending 41 minutes.

The findings were seen to be consistent across socio-economic lines measured by the mothers' education, family income, race and ethnicity.

The study found that working mums make up for their lack of time by buying ready-meals or take-aways.

"It's inaccurate to pin rising childhood obesity rates on women, given that husbands pick up so little of the slack," warned lead author John Cawley, professor of policy analysis and management and of economics at Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

The authors also say that the study does not prove that employment alone drives the way mums spend their time. "For example, mothers who choose to work might be those who enjoy cooking less and who would cook less whether working or not," John Cawley said.

He added that working mums provide other benefits for children such as more money to spend on the family.

"It's important to remember that we can take steps to enhance childhood nutrition and physical activity without advocating that women exit the workforce," he said, adding that parents should be better educated about the nutritional content of restaurant and prepackaged foods:

"In order to make more informed decisions, consumers need to have nutrition and calorie information available where they buy their food."

He also added that schools should shoulder a greater burden for supporting healthy lifestyles.

"Our findings underscore the importance of schools offering high-quality foods and physical education classes," he said. "In general, the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging comprehensive changes in school environments to promote healthy eating and active living."

Do you think the same applies to the UK? Are working mums so strapped for time that things like healthy eating go out of the window? Or is the key simply in being organised and planning ahead?

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