Maternal labour supply and childhood obesity in Canada: evidence from the NLSCY

Authors


  • I wish to express my gratitude towards the two anonymous referees for their detailed suggestions. I would like to thank Mark Stabile and Michael Baker for their guidance and helpful suggestions. I would also like to thank M. Denny, A. Siow, and seminar participants at the University of Toronto and at the 39th Annual Meetings of the Canadian Economics Association in Hamilton for helpful comments and discussions. All errors are my own. The research and analysis are based on data from Statistics Canada, but the opinions expressed do not represent the views of Statistics Canada. Email: yeefei.chia@utoronto.ca

Abstract

Abstract.  This paper investigates the socioeconomic factors affecting childhood overweight and obesity in Canada using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. In particular, I attempt to address the issue of whether an increase in the mother's work intensity is associated with an increase in the risk of the child's becoming overweight or obese. I also attempt to evaluate the causality of this relationship and the mechanisms that might facilitate this link. The results suggest that an increase in the mother's work intensity when she first returned to work in the period after the child's birth and before the child started school is associated with an increase in the risk of the child's becoming overweight or obese later in childhood. Conditional on the mother returning to work in the period between the child's birth and the start of school for the child, a 10-hour increase in the number of hours worked per week when the mother first returned to work is associated with an increase in the probability that the child later becomes overweight or obese that is in the range of 2.5 to 4 percentage points.

Abstract

Ce mémoire analyse les facteurs socio-économiques qui affectent l'excès de poids et l'obésité des enfants au Canada à l'aide des données de l'ELNEJ. En particulier, on se demande si un accroissement de l'intensité de travail de la mère est associéà l'accroissement de poids et à l'obésité de l'enfant. On étudie le lien de causalité et les mécanismes qui sous-tendent ce lien. Les résultats montrent qu'un accroissement de l'intensité de travail de la mère quand elle retourne au travail dans la période après la naissance de l'enfant et avant qu'il ne commence ses classes est associéà la probabilité d'excès de poids et d'obésité plus tard : un accroissement de 10 heures dans le nombre d'heures travaillées par semaine est associéà une probabilité de 2.5 à 4 points de pourcentage que l'enfant va avoir des problèmes de poids ou d'obésité.

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