Maternal Employment

Patricia M. Anderson

in The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736362
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Maternal Employment

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  • Health, Education, and Welfare



This chapter describes the theoretical reasons why one might expect there to be an impact of maternal employment patterns on children's obesity. The growing empirical literature that estimates this impact is reviewed, and what the empirical literature concludes about the role of each mechanism is then summarized. Next, the chapter provides some new empirical evidence on one potential mechanism. There is an impact of maternal employment on childhood obesity, not just in the United States but in many other countries as well. While it is clearly shown that there is increased fast-food consumption and a resultant increase in calories consumed, it is less clear whether higher socioeconomic status increases these impacts. Children with working mothers are 4 percentage points more likely than children whose mothers do not work to eat fast food; as a result they consume almost 75 more total calories at dinner.

Keywords: maternal employment; childhood obesity; children; fast-food consumption; calories

Article.  7148 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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