When it comes to cooking, grocery shopping and playing with children, moms with full-time jobs spend roughly 3.5 fewer hours per day on these and other chores related to their children’s diet and exercise compared to stay-at-home and unemployed mothers, according to a new report. Their male partners do little to make up the deficit. Employed fathers devote just 13 minutes daily to such activities and non-working fathers contribute 41 minutes.
To make up for this gap, working mothers are significantly more likely to spend time purchasing prepared foods such as takeout from restaurants or prepackaged, ready-to-eat meals from grocery stores all of which are generally less nutritious than home-cooked meals.
This study is the first to show the difference in time spent by working and non-working mothers on activities related to their children’s diet and physical activity. Those conducting the study do stress that it’s inaccurate to pin rising childhood obesity rates on women, given that husbands pick up so little of the slack. They also stated that employment alone drives the way mothers spends their time. “For example, mothers who choose to work might be those who enjoy cooking less and who would cook less whether working or not,”
It is important to remember that we can take steps to enhance childhood nutrition and physical activity without advocating that mothers to stop working as much. For instance, parents should be better educated about the nutritional content of restaurant and prepackaged foods.
They also state that schools should play a larger responsibility for supporting healthy lifestyles since children spend most of their day at school. The study stresses the importance of schools offering high-quality foods and physical education classes and urges comprehensive changes in school environments to promote healthy eating and active living.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to make sure whether or not you are preparing meals or getting takeout is to make sure that your family is getting the most well balanced meal possible. Next time you get takeout, try ordering side salads for everyone instead of french fries and opt for grilled dishes instead of fried. Small changes can have a major impact on your family’s health!