Mothers of young children were heavier and ate more calories, sugary drinks and fatty foods than childless women, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Dads were also less active than their child-free peers.
“The study involved 1,520 adults aged 25 on average, including parents with children younger than 5 years old. They were among more than 4,000 Minneapolis-area public school students enrolled in a study in their teens; the new study includes those who responded to two follow-up health surveys and answered questions about their diet and activity.”…
“Mothers ate more fatty foods and drank about seven sugary drinks weekly, versus about four among childless women. Moms also had an average of 2,360 calories daily, 368 calories more than women without children. With that many calories, women that age would need to be active to avoid gaining weight, walking more than 3 miles daily at a moderate pace.”
“But mothers got on average a little more than two hours of at least moderate activity weekly, versus three hours weekly among childless women. Mothers had a slightly higher average body-mass index than childless women — 27 versus 26. Healthy BMIs are in the 19-24 range.”
“Fathers ate about the same amount of daily calories as childless men and both had an average BMI of about 25, but fathers got less physical activity — about five hours weekly, compared to almost seven hours among childless men….”
” ‘This isn’t a study about blame,’ said co-author Jerica Berge, a University of Minnesota researcher. ‘This is about identifying … a very high-risk time period’ for parents that doctors should be aware of so they can offer solutions, she said.”
“That may include diet advice, parent-child exercise classes, or just getting parents to take walks with their kids, the researchers said.”
I am heading out the door to walk with my 4-year-old, but I wanted to share this story with you quickly. Do I think this study is true? Heck yes! Let’s take for example the fact that I haven’t been able to go to they gym for a week because my 4-year-old has been sick. (We have a very diligent child care staff at our Y. No sick kids!) Also I think moms grab to eat what is fast, easy and comforting — carbs! Salads are much harder to put together than a sandwich. In the past I have also tended to “reward” myself at night after we finally got the kids to sleep. Rewards usually involved chocolate at 10 p.m. This will not help weight loss.
What do you think of this study? Do you think it’s true? Did you find it true for yourself? How old do kids have to be for moms to have time to get their bodies back? (We always thought the middle school moms looked more pulled together than the elementary school moms.) What is your advice on how to have convenient healthy food ready to grab and keep up with exercise with small children in the house?
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania