freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Working mums in the firing line yet again | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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Blimey O’Reilly. It’s hard enough being a mum these days but it seems whatever you do, it’s never good enough. There’s the whole career vs family thing to think about. But then who actually can afford to be a stay-at-home mum right now? Well, not many mums I know can.

So a new study published by University College London researchers and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology isn’t going to be popular among today’s army of hard-working mothers. You can bet, however, that it will be seized upon by the more reactionary publications that believe mothers who go out to work are almost single-handedly to blame for the majority of all problems in society.

Okay, so what does this  new study say? Well in a nutshell, it claims that the rise in childhood obesity could be linked to the increase in the number of mums who work full time. One of the reasons, say the researchers, is that mums who work full time give their kids fewer family meals or just generally less healthy diets. Such terrible people, working mums, aren’t they? Not only do they go out from morning till night, having a right old time gossiping with their working-girl friends at the office and horribly neglecting their children even when they do manage to show their face at home, but they don’t feed their kids properly either. Right.

However as a piece of research, the study has some interesting points. It shows how kids today are more likely to be obese or overweight than their parents were when they were children – though that’s not such a surprise. The figures go like this: according to the study 12 percent of boys today are overweight or obese, but only 8 percent of their fathers were when they were the same age (only a four percent rise? I found that quite surprising..); while 18 percent of girls are overweight or obese compared with 11 percent of their moths when they were young.

So yes, we are getting fatter. That’s hardly headline news though. The study also found that kids whose parents are obese are six times more likely to be overweight too than children whose parents are of normal weight. Six times – whoah, that’s a huge risk factor.

Nevertheless, you can bet the fact that will get picked out of this research is that children whose mums work full time are 48 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than the kids whose mums stay at home (even when, after doing their sums and taking into account the parental weight thing combined with the working mum thing the researchers concluded that, if mums who work are contributing to the rise in childhood obesity, it’s a pretty small contribution when all things are considered).

So when you read this story elsewhere, bear all the facts in mind, and go easy on working mums. Because for many of them life isn’t easy, yet despite that they do a great job.

My mum worked full time and was the best role model I could ever have wished for. And we always had a healthy diet (well, she was a nurse, so we always had fresh food and no junk). And guess what? Neither my brother or I were or are overweight or obese. So there.