csbCSR "Brown Bag" Research Seminar: Wencke Gwozdz
CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility
Invitation to join our cbsCSR Brown Bag Research Seminar Series
Wencke Gwozdz, Assist.Professor, CBSCSR
Robyn Remke, Assoc.Professor, IKL
Maternal Employment and Child Weight – A European Perspective
In the past two decades, female employment rates in Europe and the United
States have increased substantially. This trend has been linked to negative effects
on child development, e.g., on obesity. The assumed reasoning is simple: first,
employed mothers spend less time at home and thus possibly also less time in
preparing meals and taking care of children; second, children of working mothers
spend relatively more time in care of others – and quality of childcare can vary
substantially; third, without supervision, children may choose more sedentary
leisure time activities than are good for their energy balance.
Based on cross-sectional data from the IDEFICS study we analyze the
relation between childhood obesity and maternal employment in eight European
countries. We also investigate the effects of maternal employment on obesity’s
two main drivers, namely (un)healthy diet and physical activity.
Our results indicate that there is no evidence for a negative effect of
maternal employment, neither on child weight, nor on diet or physical activity.
One intriguing result is that children of employed mothers tend to have a higher
share of school meals compared to children of non-employed mothers.
However, this does not affect the healthiness of their diet nor their weight
status. Hence, while parental care is certainly important, the quality of child
care - in the sense of being an obesogenic environment or not - seems to have an
equally high impact on children’s weight status.
The paper is authored by Wencke Gwozdz, Alfonso Sousa-Poza, Lucia A. Reisch,
Stefaan De Henauw, Gabriele Eiben, Juan Fernandez, Charalampos Hadjigeorgiou, Eva
Kovác, Fabio Lauria, Toomas Veidebaum, Garrath Williams, Karin Bammann, Wolfgang
For more on the IDEFICS study, consult: http://www.ideficsstudy.eu/Idefics/m
Feel free to bring your own lunch bag.