New research conducted by the University of New England (UNE) has found that mothers who work part-time raise healthier children than both those who work full-time and stay-at-home mums.
In the study of more than 4500 Australian pre-schoolers, the UNE study found that kids of part-time mums were eating less junk food, watched less television and are were less likely to be overweight.
In conducting the research, mothers were interviewed face-to-face while their children’s weight and height were measured when aged four to five, and again two years later when they were aged six to seven.
In commenting on the study, researchers from the University of New England in NSW believed this result may be due to part-time mothers being more conscientious on the days they are able to care for their children.
Co-author and associate professor Jan Nicholson, principal research fellow at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said: “When mothers work part-time, there’s obviously something about the way the house is run, and the way parents are looking after their children that is protective.”
The study – Do Working Mothers Raise Couch Potato Kids? – concludes that on average women who work full time have relatively unhealthier kids.
In a surprising finding, stay-at-home mothers have less healthy children, despite having more time to structure and implement a healthy environment for their children. Researchers were unable to explain this, and believed a closer examination of household dynamics is necessary in order to understand this phenomenon.