Working Moms' Kids Eat Just as Well: Study

They eat more meals outside the home, but their diets are comparable to those of other youngsters

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FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Working mothers may help bring home the bacon, but that doesn't mean their kids eat less well than the children of stay-at-home moms, a new study finds.

Children of working mothers may get more of their food energy outside the home, however.

"We found that, when the female head of household was employed, the youngest children, the 2-to-5 year olds, consumed fewer calories at home, including fewer servings of fruits and vegetables and calcium-rich foods from home," study leader Dr. Sibylle Kranz, an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University, said in a prepared statement.

"However, they consumed more calories, calcium, fruits and vegetables from school, probably as the result of the children participating in day-care programs that provide meals," Kranz added.

The study of more than 9,000 U.S. children found that while employment was found to be a major factor, children of stay-at-home moms or mothers with parttime jobs didn't necessarily have better quality diets than children of mothers with full time jobs.

The study was presented earlier this week at a meeting of the American Public Health Association, in Philadelphia.

"Overall, a balance between the benefits of working mothers, such as increased income, and the downsides, such as less time for food preparation and higher food consumption outside of the home, must be found on an individual basis," the study authors wrote.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about healthy eating for children.

SOURCE: Penn State, news release, Dec. 12, 2005

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