Fitness + Well-being

Working long hours may be making your kid fat

Staying late at work might help you finish up a project or clock that overtime pay, but it may also lead to an unwanted effect: causing your kid to gain weight.

According to past research, that’s not exactly news, but a new analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests previous studies may have underestimated the link.  

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The new report followed 10,000 Americans from 1986 to 2004 and observed an association between mothers going back to work after their children were born and a 10-plus percent increased likelihood of their children becoming obese, MarketWatch reported.

Moms aren’t to blame, the analysis found. In fact, children only saw an increased risk of weight gain if their fathers maintained their work schedules or started working more when their wives returned to the office, study author Charles Courtemanche, associate professor of economics in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, told MarketWatch.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s — resulting in one in five people ages 6 to 19 now being obese.

MarketWatch reported that parents’ longer working hours may cause their children to gain weight due to a change in diet and family routines, like eating healthy family meals together. Kids whose parents both work also may be more likely to find entertainment in their smartphones and tablets — with a tired mom and dad at the end of the day, they’re probably less likely to get outdoor family time together. According to MarketWatch, the study found grandparents’ involvement and day care routines can also influence children’s health.

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The new analysis shows correlation between working parents and childhood obesity, but it doesn’t prove that both you and your spouse working will make your kid gain weight.

In fact, other studies have shown benefits for kids with working parents, MarketWatch reported. Parents who both work often stay married longer, and moms and dads tend to be better with time management, which makes for more successful employees. Not to mention, having two incomes increases overall family cash flow, the website reported.