ARP Link: Brit study says children of working moms at risk

A post today on Jezebel analyzes media response to a British study that showed children of working mothers are more likely to watch TV and eat unhealthy snacks. Coverage follows the presumption that women are and should be primarily responsible for all childcare (Where are “working dads” in all this?). And then, media analysis of the study leaves the door open to a heap of class and race bias, as families who can afford a stay-at-home spouse are essentially branded “good” parents in comparison to those “bad” ones who have the audacity to be in an economic strata that requires two working parents. Researchers caution against blaming, but you know how it goes…

A study by Britain’s Institute of Child Health reports that kids of working mothers are more likely to eat unhealthy snacks and watch a lot of TV. Cue the Guilt Police!

The study looked at 12,500 five-year-olds, and controlled for factors like socioeconomic status and mothers’ education. Researchers found that children of working mothers were more likely to drink soda and eat “crisps and sweets” between meals, and less likely to snack on fruits and vegetables, than their peers with stay-at-home moms. Kids whose mothers worked were also more likely to be driven to school, rather than walking or biking, and more likely to spend two or more hours a day watching TV or using the computer. The effect on kids’ eating and exercise habits was less when mothers worked part-time than when they work full-time, but still significant, and in fact, the average employed mom in the study worked only 21 hours a week. According to the Guardian, “flexible working had an impact, but [...] no strong effect on the health of the children.” Read more…



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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek,, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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