Fast food and sedentary lifestyle are largely blamed for the childhood obesity epidemic faced by many countries today. A new study, however, suggests another culprit that may be contributing to the rising weight of children.

Childhood Obesity And Working Mothers

In a study that involved children who were born between the years 2000 and 2002, researchers from the University College London in the UK found a link between overweight children and having a mother who work either full or part-time.

Study researcher Emla Fitzsimons and colleagues, who conducted the research on 20,000 families, found that children with employed mothers were more likely to weigh heavier compared with kids with stay-at-home moms.

The association is particularly more pronounced for single mothers who work full time. The researchers found that kids of working single mothers have 25 percent increased odds of becoming overweight.

Interestingly, Fitzsimons and colleagues found that a father's employment has no significant effects on the weight of the children.

Poorer Dietary Habits And Sedentary Behavior

Researchers found that children with working mothers are 29 percent less likely to eat regular breakfast.

Studies have shown the importance of healthy breakfast on school-going children. Kids are more likely to binge on fast food for the rest of the day if they missed breakfast in the morning. Fast food such as sodas, chips, cakes, and candies contribute to unhealthy weight gain.

Research has also shown that kids who have breakfast in the morning before they go to school tend to have lower body mass index compared with those who do not eat the first meal of the day.

Researchers also found that children with working moms are 19 percent more likely to watch TV for more than three hours per day. Children who spend much of their time on screens are at increased risk of becoming overweight.

"We find that children whose mothers work are more likely to have increased sedentary behaviour and poorer dietary habits," Fitzsimons said.

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