Maternal Employment and Household Food Production: Implications for Nutrition and Obesity
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
June 18, 2009
This paper explores the mechanisms through which maternal employment affects the quality of household nutrition and the implications for obesity of family members. Using comparable samples from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII), I find that maternal employment is negatively associated with time spent shopping for and preparing food and positively associated with the share of household food expenditure spent on food prepared away from home. This substitution of money for time in food consumption can have detrimental effects on the nutrition of both adults and children in the family. In married-couple families, I find that the quality of food-intake falls with maternal employment in all subgroups studied, and that obesity sometimes, but not always, rises with maternal employment. In single-mother families, however, my results suggest a weaker association between maternal labor supply, quality of food intake, and obesity. Overall, my findings suggest that maternal employment can explain very little of the time trend increase in
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: maternal employment, household production, nutrition, obesity
JEL Classification: D13, I12, J22
Date posted: June 19, 2009