A new study finds a possible link between working mothers and childhood obesity, Time magazine reported Friday.
Research in the January/February issue of “Child Development” found that a child’s body mass index (BMI) may rise depending on how many years a mother spends working after the birth of her child.
While the data could inspire feelings of guilt among mothers, the rise in BMI often proved negligible. In one of the studies conducted among third graders, the weight amounted to an increase of just one pound, for example.
The study acknowledges that many other factors contribute to childhood obesity. Taryn Morrissey, assistant professor of public administration and policy at American University, led the study and stresses that working mothers should not worry.
“This is by no means bashing working moms,” Morrissey told Time. “It is a small effect. It’s not maternal employment per se that appears to be the reason for childhood obesity. No one has found a single smoking gun as the cause of childhood obesity, and our study is certainly no exception.”
Other notable factors, like an increased accessibility to junk and prepared foods, also contribute to childhood obesity.