Parents’ Work Hours, Availability during the Day and Adolescent Weight Gain

Molly A. Martin, Pennsylvania State University
Adam M. Lippert, Pennsylvania State University

We explore the extent to which mothers’ employment, as well as the joint employment patterns of fathers and mothers, predicts adolescent weight change. We hypothesize that time spent in paid employment affects parents’ ability to be home with their child before and after school, which in turn affects adolescents’ weight-related routines. In particular, we study whether adolescents usually eat breakfast on weekdays, their hours of screen time, and how often they eat dinner with parents. Finally, we explore the extent to which these routines and parents’ availability predicts adolescent weight change. We use Add Health data because it is the only study to have data on parents’ availability before and after school. In large measure, our findings support our hypotheses. Further, we find that the joint labor force participation of mothers and fathers (not just the labor force participation of mothers) is significant for these associations.

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Presented in Session 191: Effects of Parental Time Use and Employment on Child Well-Being