csbCSR "Brown Bag" Research Seminar: Wencke Gwozdz

Maternal Employment and Child Weight – A European Perspective

Tirsdag, 21 juni, 2011 - 12:00 to 13:00

CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility

Invitation to join our cbsCSR Brown Bag Research Seminar Series

Co-author, presenting:

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

The full paper is available: write gj.ikl@cbs.dk.Registration is recommended, though not necessary. with gj.ikl@cbs.dk

Feel free to bring your own lunch bag.

Sidst opdateret: Communications // 12/10/2012