As usual, the media is going out of its way to make working mothers feel guilty. As Jim Williams of CBS reported on August 16, 2005, there's a supposed link between working moms and child obesity.
(CBS) With an obesity rate in this country triple what it was 30 years ago, scientists are now exploring the role a woman's job may have on a child's health.
Whether you blame school vending machines, fast food, or too much TV, American kids have never been fatter. Now, Wellesley College professor Phil Levine has found a link between working mothers and childhood obesity. One finding in his study was particularly surprising.
“That effect tends to be concentrated among upper income women,” he said.
But by upper income, we're not talking about the country club set. The study is referring to families with a total household income around $80,000.
Professor Levine believes working moms are so strapped for time they may be forced to take unhealthy shortcuts like swinging through a drive-thru for dinner.
Dr. Lee Kaplan is an obesity specialist. He says a possible relationship between career moms and childhood obesity is worth looking at. “There's some evidence that the generation of our children is the first generation in recent human history that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents,” he said. “That's mostly due to obesity.”
Many women we talked to say they try, but they just can't do it all.
“It's hard to be successful at work; it's hard to be successful at home; you spread yourself really thin,” one woman told us.
“They beg me for time to go to the park,” said another. “In between work and cooking, I only have time to do it on the weekends.”
Dr. Kaplan says inspiring change will be difficult. “We're not going back to an Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle where we have mom sitting at home spending six hours a day shopping for food and making breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he said. “No one has that kind of time.”
Both Dr. Kaplan and professor Levine say this doesn't mean moms should stop working, but they agree it may be time for society to start looking for a solution.
(© MMV, CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Of course no one is blaming working dads, since moms are still responsible for most of the cooking and grocery shopping. But look at society. These kids are not walking to and from school each day, probably because they have activities before and after school and have too much gear to lug around (sports equipment, band instruments, dance gear, etc.)
Then many upper income kids don't go to a neighborhood school but are bussed or driven to a better public or private school far away. Then many parents don't want their kids walking to and from school for fear of getting snatched or run over.
Also, between work, school and extra curricular activities, so many families are on the run that no one's sitting down to eat any more. I know several families who go through the drive through and eat pizza in the car on the way to sports practice no matter if it's mom OR dad who's driving.
Then there's stress eating. Everyone's getting fat because we're all soothing ourselves with sugar-laden fattening treats. Better than cocaine, I guess.
All in all, there are too many factors to take account of, so lay off blaming everything on working moms. All moms work - and dads too - whether it's inside or outside the home.