In some ways, says Tim Hartford, author of the article, this makes sense: having two working parents leaves young children unsupervised, at daycare or with a nanny, who probably puts them in front of the TV and feeds them high-calorie processed foods that take less effort to prepare. And at the end of a long working day, exhausted, they may provide fast food for the children rather than cooking a traditional, nutritious meal. (Just look at it based on opportunity cost: if parents are too exhausted, the cost of cooking a meal would be much higher than the "small" weight gain associated with just one fast food meal...and then that just snowballs.) But on the other hand, for example, many kids at Walker have two working parents, and few of them are overweight. Is Hartford's proposal a plausible cause of the childhood obesity epidemic? Could it be a major player, or only one of many factors? If it is one of many, what other possible causes (within the family) could there be (i.e., parents' income levels, living in the suburbs vs. the city, even firstborn vs. second, third, etc child)?(Source: Nicole O.)
Monday, October 23, 2006
Are Kids Fat Because of Working Parents?
In this Slate article, Tim Harford argues that one of the reasons why more children are overweight these days is because there are more two-income families with moms working instead of staying home. In an earlier blog post, we discussed some of the other factors at work that Harford references, but this adds another idea into the mix. Here are questions to go along with the article: