Advanced SearchSearch Tips
Does Maternal Employment Affect Parental Time Allocated to Children's Food Consumption and Physical Activity? Evidence from the Korean Time Use Survey
facebook(new window)  Pirnt(new window) E-mail(new window) Excel Download
 Title & Authors
Does Maternal Employment Affect Parental Time Allocated to Children's Food Consumption and Physical Activity? Evidence from the Korean Time Use Survey
Chang, Yunhee; Lee, Seungmie;
  PDF(new window)
This study uses the 1999-2009 Korean Time Use Survey to explore how mothers' employment affects parental time spent in activities that may relate to their children's weight. Specifically, it estimates two-part regression models to assess the effects of maternal employment upon the amount of time mothers spend in activities potentially related to their preschool children's eating and physical activity. The findings suggest that working mothers and those mothers who work longer hours allocate significantly less time in food preparation, eating with the child, and supervising the child's physical activity than mothers who are not employed and those who work fewer hours. The paper also finds that spouses of working mothers do not allocate more time to these activities to offset the reduction in mothers' time. Also, using local unemployment rates as instrumental variables, maternal employment is found to allow mothers to spend significantly more time on food preparation and family meals, although its effect on mothers' total childcare time is negative. Several aspects of Korean society may have made the relationship between maternal employment and childhood weight issues different from what was found in other countries.
time use;childhood obesity;childhood overweight;maternal employment;food consumption;
 Cited by
Abdulai, A. (2010). Socio-economic characteristics and obesity in underdeveloped economies: Does income really matter? Applied Economics, 42(2), 157- 169. crossref(new window)

Anderson, P. M., & Butcher, K. F. (2006). Childhood obesity: Trends and potential causes. Future of Children, 16(1), 19-45.

Anderson, P. M., Butcher, K. F., & Levine, P. B. (2003). Maternal employment and overweight children. Journal of Health Economics, 22(3), 477-504. crossref(new window)

Araneo, J. (2008). The effects of maternal employment on childhood obesity in the United States (No. 1083). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing.

Bauer, K. W., Hearst, M. O., Escoto, K., Berge, J. M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2012). Parental employment and work-family stress: Associations with family food environments. Social Science and Medicine, 75(3), 496-450. crossref(new window)

Ben-Shalom, Y. (2009). Maternal employment and household food production: Implications for nutrition and obesity. SSRN eLibrary. Retrieved from

Bertrand, M., & Schanzenbach, D. W. (2009). Time use and food consumption. American Economic Review, 99(2), 170-176. crossref(new window)

Bianchi, S. M. (2000). Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity? Demography, 37(4), 401-14. crossref(new window)

Bishop, J. (2011). The effect of maternal employment on youth overweight in Australia. Economic Record, 87, 92-104. crossref(new window)

Brinton, M. C., Lee, Y.-J., & Parish, W. L. (1995). Married women's employment in rapidly industrializing societies: Examples from East Asia. American Journal of Sociology, 100(5), 1099-1130. crossref(new window)

Brown, J. E., Broom, D. H., Nicholson, J. M., & Bittman, M. (2010). Do working mothers raise couch potato kids? Maternal employment and children's lifestyle behaviours and weight in early childhood. Social Science and Medicine, 70(11), 1816-1824. crossref(new window)

Cawley, J. (2004). An economic framework for understanding physical activity and eating behaviors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27(3S), 117- 125. crossref(new window)

Cawley, J., & Liu, F. (2007). Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, No. 13600. Retrieved from

Chia, Y. F. (2008). Maternal labour supply and childhood obesity in Canada: Evidence from the NLSCY. Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, 41(1), 217-242. crossref(new window)

Cho, Y. -G., Kang, J. -H., Kim, K. -A., & Song, J. -H. (2009). The relationship between low maternal education level and children's overweight in the Korean society. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 3(3), 133-140. crossref(new window)

Chou, S., Grossman, M., & Saffer, H. (2004). An economic analysis of adult obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Journal of Health Economics, 23(3), 565-587. crossref(new window)

Chu, M. A., & Choe, B. -H. (2010). Obesity and metabolic syndrome among children and adolescents in Korea. Journal of the Korean Medical Association, 53(2), 142-152. crossref(new window)

Cutler, D. M., Glaeser, E. L., & Shapiro, J. M. (2003). Why have Americans become more obese? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(3), 93-118. crossref(new window)

Davison, K., Nishi, A., Kranz, S., Wyckoff, L., May, J., Earle-Richardson, G., ... Jenkins, P. (2012). Associations among social capital, parenting for active lifestyles, and youth physical activity in rural families living in upstate New York. Social Science and Medicine, 75(8), 1488-1496. crossref(new window)

Fertig, A., Glomm, G., & Tchernis, R. (2009). The connection between maternal employment and childhood obesity: Inspecting the mechanisms. Review of Economics of the Household, 7(3), 227-255. crossref(new window)

Finkelstein, E. A., Ruhm, C. J., & Kosa, K. M. (2005). Economic causes and consequences of obesity. Annual Review of Public Health, 26(1), 239-257. crossref(new window)

Gillman, M. W., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Frazier, A. L., Rockett, H. R., Camargo Jr., C. A., Field, A. E., … Colditz, G. A. (2000). Family dinner and diet quality among older children and adolescents. Archives of Family Medicine, 9(3), 235-240. crossref(new window)

Glick, P. J. (2002). Women's employment and its relation to children's health and schooling in developing countries: Conceptual links, empirical evidence, and policies. Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper, 131.

Greve, J. (2011). New results on the effect of maternal work hours on children's overweight status: Does the quality of childcare matter? Labour Economics, 18(5), 579-590. crossref(new window)

Hawkins, S. S., Cole, T. J., & Law, C. (2008). Maternal employment and early childhood overweight: findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. International Journal of Obesity, 32(1), 30-38. crossref(new window)

Jabs, J., & Devine, C. M. (2006). Time scarcity and food choices: An overview. Appetite, 47(2), 196-204. crossref(new window)

Jang, M., & Berry, D. (2011). Overweight, obesity, and metabolic syndrome in adults and children in South Korea: A review of the literature. Clinical Nursing Research, 20(3), 276-291. crossref(new window)

Klesges, R. C., Stein, R. J., Eck, L. H., Isbell, T. R., & Klesges, L. M. (1991). Parental influence on food selection in young children and its relationship to childhood obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 53(4), 859-864.

Kwon, Y., Oh, S., Park, S., & Park, Y. (2010). Association between household income and overweight of Korean and American children: trends and differences. Nutrition Research, 30(7), 470-476. crossref(new window)

Lee, K. J., Um, C. C., & Kim, S. (2004). Multiple roles of married Korean women: Effect on depression. Sex Roles, 51(7-8), 469-478. crossref(new window)

Lee, M. -J., Popkin, B. M., & Kim, S. (2002). The unique aspects of the nutrition transition in South Korea: the retention of healthful elements in their traditional diet. Public Health Nutrition, 5(1A), 197- 203.

Lee, Y. -H., & Lee, S. -J. (2007). Analysis of the time use of working women and housewives having preschool children. Korean Journal of Human Ecology, 10(1), 19-25.

Liu, E., Hsiao, C., Matsumoto, T., & Chou, S. (2009). Maternal full-time employment and overweight children: Parametric, semi-parametric, and nonparametric assessment. Journal of Econometrics, 152(1), 61-69. crossref(new window)

Mancino, L., Todd, J. E., Guthrie, J., & Lin, B. -H. (2010). How Food Away from Home Affects Children's Diet Quality (Economic Research Report No. 104). United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from 3_.pdf

Misra, A., & Khurana, L. (2008). Obesity and the metabolic syndrome in developing countries. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 93(11 Supplement 1), s9-s30. crossref(new window)

Moran, J. (2003). Globalization, family life, and the future research environment in home economics and human sciences. International Journal of Human Ecology, 4(2), 89-100.

Neumark-Sztainer, D., Hannan, P. J., Story, M., Croll, J., & Perry, C. (2003). Family meal patterns: Associations with sociodemographic characteristics and improved dietary intake among adolescents. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(3), 317- 322.

OECD. (2011). Doing better for families. Paris.

Oh, K., Jang, M. J., Lee, N. Y., Moon, J. S., Lee, C. G., Yoo, M. H., & Kim, Y. T. (2008). Prevalence and trends in obesity among Korean children and adolescents in 1997 and 2005. Korean Journal of Pediatrics, 51(9), 950-955. crossref(new window)

Oh, S. H. (2007). A Study on the Stress and the Dietary Habits of Elementary School (Master's Thesis). Myongji University, Seoul.

Park, Y. S., Lee, D. H., Choi, J. M., Kang, Y. J., & Kim, C. H. (2004). Trend of obesity in school age children in Seoul over the past 23 years. Korean Journal of Pediatrics, 47(3), 245-257.

Phipps, S. A., Lethbridge, L., & Burton, P. (2006). Long-run consequences of parental paid work hours for child overweight status in Canada. Social Science and Medicine, 62(4), 977-986. crossref(new window)

Ryu, S. Y., Kweon, S., Park, H., Shin, J., & Rhee, J. (2007). Obesity and the metabolic syndrome in Korean adolescents. Journal of Korean Medical Science, 22, 513-517. crossref(new window)

Sobal, J., & Stunkard, A. J. (1989). Socioeconomic status and obesity: A review of the literature. Psychological Bulletin, 105(2), 260-275. crossref(new window)

Sung, S. (2003). Women reconciling paid and unpaid work in a Confucian welfare state: The case of South Korea. Social Policy and Administration, 37(4), 342-360. crossref(new window)

Sung, S. J., & Kwon, S. (2010). Effect of eating with family or alone on the self-rated mental or physical health: The elementary school children in Daejeon area. Korean Journal of Community Nutrition, 15(2), 206-226.

Tucker, K., & Sanjur, D. (1988). Maternal employment and child nutrition in Panama. Social Science and Medicine, 26(6), 605-612. crossref(new window)

Von Hinke Kessler Scholder, S. (2008). Maternal employment and overweight children: Does timing matter? Health Economics, 17(8), 889-906. crossref(new window)

Wang, Y. (2001). Cross-national comparison of childhood obesity: the epidemic and the relationship between obesity and socioeconomic status. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(5), 1129-1136. crossref(new window)

Watanabe, E., Lee, J. S., & Kawakubo, K. (2011). Associations of maternal employment and three-generation families with pre-school children's overweight and obesity in Japan. International Journal of Obesity, 35(7), 945-952. crossref(new window)

Yang, S., & Rosenblatt, P. C. (2008). Confucian family values and childless couples in South Korea. Journal of Family Issues, 29(5), 571-591.

Yim, K. S., & Nam, K. I. (1999). Body Mass Index distributions and sociodemographic factors affecting BMI of children living in Anyang, Korea. Journal of Community Nutrition, 1(2), 81-87.

oon, J. (2010a). An analysis of determinants of maternal time allocation. Journal of the Korean Labor Economic Association (노동경제논집), 33(2), 27-52.

Yoon, J. (2010b). Nonmarket time and formation of children's human capital. Seoul, Korea: Korean Labor Research Institute.

You, W., & Nayga, R. M. (2005). Household fast food expenditures and children's television viewing: Can they really significantly influence children's dietary quality? Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 30(2), 302-314.