Dietary intake of working women with children does not appear to be influenced by hours of employment: A secondary analysis of the Australian Health Survey (2011-2013)

Jacqueline Miller, Lily Chan, Kaye Mehta, Rachel Roberts, Kacie M. Dickinson, Alison Yaxley, Louisa Matwiejczyk, Jolene Thomas, Amanda Wray, Kathryn Jackson, Michelle Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Women with children often fulfil multiple roles of running a household, raising a family and working outside the home. Good nutrition during this time is important to optimise their performance and prevent lifestyle diseases. Women also act as nutritional gatekeepers for their family. The dual burden of paid employment and unpaid family work may be associated with time scarcity in mothers which can impact food preparation and therefore nutritional adequacy. The aim of this study was to examine the diet of women who lived with children by comparison of hours worked. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of the Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2011-12. Subjects were women aged 18-65 years who resided with ≥1 child (<18 years). Women were grouped according to hours of employment: not working; working <25 h a week; and working ≥25 hours a week. Data from two 24-h dietary recalls were used to compare differences between groups in nutrient intake and proportion of energy from discretionary foods. Covariates included were age, education, smoker status, Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), number of persons in household, week or weekend day of the survey and the sequence of recalls. Results: Analyses included 1869 women. Dietary intakes varied minimally between groups with intakes of fibre, vitamin C, and calcium lowest in the group not working. Overall diet quality was poor with >30% of energy coming from discretionary foods in all groups. Conclusions: Usual hours of employment per week have a minimal effect on diet quality in women with children. It is likely that different factors specific to each group contribute to the poor dietary intakes and should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Australian Health Survey
  • Diet quality
  • Time scarcity
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this