There is a report out today by the Institute of Child Health which looked at 12,500 five year olds. They found that those children with working mothers are less active and are more likely to eat unhealthy food.Children of working mums were more likely to drink sweetened drinks and snack between meals, watch more TV and spend less time walking and playing out.
The question is what can we do about it? As I see it we have 2 choices:
a) Use it to have a go at Mums and increase their stress levels further. Most working mums already suffer high guilt levels
b) Put in place a raft of measures to support working parents - eg breakfast clubs at schools and nurseries. Free, good quality school lunches available at every school. Increase in work based creches.Restrictions on the advertising and promotions of high fat snacks like crisps and high sugar drinks. Limits on fast food restaurants that dominate our high streets and support for family friendly restaurants that sell balanced meals at reasonable prices.
If you look back at the second world war when the government needed women to enter the workforce in large numbers there were lots of initiatives to support working women including massive canteens that provided family meals.
Poverty is a blight on the lives of so many children in this country. Women are under huge pressure to combine motherhood and work. No one is expecting the state to pick up the tab for the cost of children but surely it could help by supporting school meals and fresh fruit and veg schemes? I find the change4life attempts to persuade us to change our behaviour insulting and banal
It is irksome that this study concentrates on the children of working mums. Wonder how the children of working dads fare?
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