Australian scientist are claiming that there is a strong link between fathers and childhood obesity according to a study published in the December issue of the International Journal of Obesity. The study specifically focused on parents who worked non-standard hours which they defined as jobs that either starts at 6 PM, lasts all night, or is on the weekends.
The scientists then studied 434 children who were age 9 and in families where one or both parents had a job that required them to work odd hours. Of these families, 32.5% were mothers, 39.4% were fathers, and 14.9% were both parents. What they discovered was interesting.
After compiling the numbers, the researchers found that altogether, 22.8% of these children were overweight or obese. They then broke that figure down into three categories. In cases where the mother was the only one working nonstandard hours the research showed no consistent link to obese children, while in families where both parents had such jobs, there was some correlation, but it wasn’t necessarily conclusive.
However, with fathers who worked at unconventional times the findings were significant according the study which had this to say in the concluding summary:
“Work hours scheduled at nonstandard times, when worked by the father or both parents, were associated with child overweight and obesity. These findings indicate the potential importance of fathers’ paid work arrangements for child overweight/obesity…”
Or as the New York Post so delicately put it:
“Pop’s night shift could make junior’s waistline explode, a study says.”
So basically, when mom tells the kids to stay out of the cookie jar while she’s pulling 3rd shift, the kids know mom means business, but when dad heads out the door, he not only grabs a cookie, he hands one to kids as well. Yeah, I know that’s not the point of the study or fair of me to say. And, absolutely, dads should be involved in helping their kids make healthy choices, but hey, New York Post, could you go little easier on us?
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Ron Mattocks is a father of five (3 sons, 2 stepdaughters) and author of the book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. He blogs at Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, and lives in Houston with his wife, Ashley, who eternally mocks his fervor for Coldplay.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons Public Domain