Effects of Maternal Employment and Child Care on Children's Obesity Risk: Do Child Care Arrangements Matter?

Mai N. Hubbard, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Since the dramatic rise in childhood obesity rates in the late 1970s, a large number of empirical studies have examined the impact of environmental, behavioral, and societal factors on childhood obesity. Surprisingly, very little attention has been devoted to estimating the impact of two notable changes that occurred concurrently with the rise in obesity prevalence: an increase in maternal employment and in child care usage. Furthermore, current studies have yet to address the potential differences in the effect of child care by type of arrangement. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, this study evaluates the effects of maternal employment and child care, by arrangement type, on the risk of obesity. Using several econometric approaches that control for observable and unobservable child, parental, and geographic characteristics, results from the preferred model show that full-time employment reduces the risk of obesity whereas child care with relatives or babysitters increases the risk.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 31: Parental Employment, Early Education and Development