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Children of Working Mothers are Six Times More Likely to be Fat Featured

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fat-kidA new study says children of working mothers are six times more likely to be overweight.

The researchers believe that a diet of fatty ready made meals and fattening snacks eaten unsupervised after school is causing the children to pack on the pounds. According to the study the weight gain effect is greatest amongst youngsters aged 11 to 12 - so-called 'latch-key children' who let themselves in to the house while parents are at work.

The study, published in the journal Child Development, looked at 990 youngsters between the ages of eight and 12 and compared their mothers’ working hours.Researchers also looked at the average number of hours children spent watching TV each day and the amount of exercise they took.

They found that the average child whose mother worked tended to be one or two pounds heavier compared to those whose mothers stayed at home. The effect increased with age, and 11 or 12 year old children carried an average of three or four pounds more than a child of the same age whose mother didn’t work. But surprisingly the weight gain does not seem to be caused by television-watching or a lack of exercise.  The researchers found that latch-key children spent the same number of hours in front of the television and did similar amounts of exercise as those of stay-at-home mothers.

    Other findings:

    • The survey found working mothers have less time to prepare more nutritious meals leading their children to eat more fatty ready meals.
    • Youngsters whose parents work tend to eat fatty ready meals or fast food, rather than healthy dinners cooked from scratch.
    • Children of working mothers are often left to prepare their own dinners which may consist of a high-calorie ready-meal left out in the fridge, as opposed to a family dinner cooked from scratch.
    • Children of working mothers are more likely to skip meals, and instead fill themselves up on chips, chocolate bars or crisps bought on the way home from school.
    • Parents who work tend to spend more of their food budget eating out and on fast foods.
    • Unsupervised children may also go to bed later, and lack of sleep has also been linked to higher risk of obesity.
    Last modified on Saturday, 29 September 2012 11:11
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