Maternal employment and child weight-related health

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2 Scopus citations


Several studies have documented a link between maternal employment and childhood obesity, but the mechanisms are not clear. This study investigated the association of maternal employment with children's weight status and detailed weight-related behaviors using data from Phase I of Family Matters, a cross-sectional, observational study of 150 children aged 5–8 from six racial/ethnic groups (White, Black, Latinx, Native American, Hmong, and Somali) and their families from the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN metropolitan area recruited in 2015–2016. Weight status (objectively measured), child dietary intake (three 24-h dietary recalls), physical activity (eight days of hip-mounted accelerometer data on children), and sleep (eight daily parent reports on children's sleep hours) were examined across four categories of maternal employment status: stay-at-home caregivers, working part-time, working full-time, and unemployed/unable to work. This study found that children's weight status and physical activity levels were similar across all categories of maternal employment. However, there were significant differences in aspects of children's diets by maternal employment status and, compared to children with stay-at-home mothers, children's sleep was significantly lower if their mother worked full-time. These findings highlight that dietary and sleep interventions tailored to the mother's employment status may be fruitful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115303
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research is supported by grant numbers R01HL126171 and R01HL156994 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PI: Jerica Berge). The training of JN de Brito was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) T32 Minnesota Obesity Prevention Training (MnOPT) program (T32DK083250) . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute or the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases or the National Institutes of Health .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Maternal and child health
  • Maternal employment
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity


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