Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 233–244

Parental Employment, Shared Parent–Child Activities and Childhood Obesity

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10834-011-9249-0

Cite this article as:
Benson, L. & Mokhtari, M. J Fam Econ Iss (2011) 32: 233. doi:10.1007/s10834-011-9249-0


We examine the effect of parental employment on child health as measured by children’s percentile body mass index (pBMI). Our investigation reveals that hours of parental employment are important determinants of child health. We find a highly significant role for the influence of fathers’ hours of work on the pBMI. Given that work hours of both mothers and fathers impact child health, ignoring parents’ joint decision making in child health production may lead to biased results. Additionally, we conclude that parental work hours may impact both the quality and quantity of time that parents spend with their children. Specifically, we find that shared parent–child activities such as building or repair work, and reading influence childhood obesity.


Child healthChildhood obesityFamily economicsFamily policyPaternal employment

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family Science, School of Public HealthUniversity of Maryland, College ParkCollege ParkUSA