A population study of 5 to 15 year olds: Full time maternal employment not associated with high BMI. the importance of screen-based activity, reading for pleasure and sleep duration in children's BMI

Anne W. Taylor, Helen Winefield, Lisa Kettler, Rachel Roberts, Tiffany Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


To describe the relationship between maternal full time employment and health-related and demographic variables associated with children aged 5-15 years, and the factors associated with child overweight/obesity. Data from a chronic disease and risk factor surveillance system were limited to children aged 5-15 years whose mothers responded on their behalf (n = 641). Univariate/multivariate analyses described the differences between mothers who did and did not work full time. The same data were analysed comparing children who are overweight/obese against those with a normal BMI. The children of mothers who worked full time are more likely to be older, live in a household with a higher household income, be an only child or have one sibling or other child in the household, have a sole mother family structure and not spend any time reading for pleasure. No relationship was found between maternal employment and BMI. Compared with children of normal weight, those who were overweight/obese were more likely to spend no time studying, spend more than 2 h per day in screen-based activity and sleep less than 10 h per night. Child BMI status was not related to maternal employment. Although this analysis included eight diet related variables none proved to be significant in the final models.This study has shown that mothers' working status is not related to children's BMI. The relationship between overweight/obesity of children and high levels of screenbased activity, low levels of studying, and short sleep duration suggests a need for better knowledge and understanding of sedentary behaviours of children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-599
Number of pages13
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Apr 2012


  • Children
  • Maternal employment
  • Obesity
  • Screen-based activity
  • Self-report
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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