Maternal Employment and Overweight Children

43 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2002 Last revised: 28 Nov 2009

See all articles by Patricia M. Anderson

Patricia M. Anderson

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kristin F. Butcher

Wellesley College; NBER

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2002

Abstract

This paper investigates whether children are more or less likely to be overweight if their mothers work. The prevalence of both overweight children and working mothers has risen dramatically over the past few decades, although these parallel trends may be coincidental. The goal of this paper is to help determine whether a causal relationship exists between maternal employment and childhood overweight. To accomplish this, we mainly utilize matched mother/child data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and employ three main econometric techniques, probit models, sibling difference models, and instrumental variables models in this analysis. Our results indicate that a child is more likely to be overweight if his/her mother worked more intensively (in the form of greater hours per week) over the child's life. This effect is particularly evident for children of white mothers, of mothers with more education, and of mothers with a high income level. Applying our estimates to the trend towards greater maternal employment indicates that the increased hours worked per week among mothers between 1975 and 1999 led to about a 0.4 to 0.7 percentage point increase in overweight children, which represents a relatively small share of the overall increase.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Patricia M. and Butcher, Kristin Frances and Levine, Phillip B., Maternal Employment and Overweight Children (February 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8770. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=299814

Patricia M. Anderson (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2532 (Phone)
603-646-2122 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kristin Frances Butcher

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
781-283-2179 (Phone)
781-283-2177 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://web.wellesley.edu/web/Acad/Economics

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/people/kristin_butcher

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
781-283-2162 (Phone)
781-283-2177 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
50
Abstract Views
2,246
PlumX Metrics