This project aimed to investigate how changes in parental employment have affected childhood weight and if/how this effect has been changing over the last five decades. The project was part of the Cross Cohort Research Programme.
Parental working hours and the rising prevalence of obesity over time: a cross-cohort analysis
Employment, income and wealth
Family and social networks
1 October 2016 – December 2018
The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has soared in recent decades. Over the same period, the typical household has seen overall increases in parental working hours. This project aimed to investigate how changes in parental employment have affected childhood weight and if/how this effect has been changing over the last five decades.
The project used data from three birth cohort studies spanning the past five decades: the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS), the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). It used a mixture of modelling to estimate whether there is a causal relationship between parental employment and childhood obesity, and to quantify its magnitude.
There are several potential policy implications of this research. One is that programmes to tackle the growing incidence of childhood overweight, such as access to healthier foods and physical exercise, could be better tailored to meet the demands of working parents. A second is that preschool childcare settings, which are used by a growing number of families for extended periods each day, may be an increasingly important target for promoting early healthy behaviours.
Phone: 020 7331 5129
Emla is the Director of the UK Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal birth cohort study following children born at the turn of the new century. Her research is focused on the development of human capital throughout the life course, and in particular how experiences and circumstances in early life and childhood affect causally the acquisition of skills later on.
Ludovica worked in CLS from 2013 to 2016, mainly on the Millennium Cohort Study and she continues to collaborate with researchers in CLS.
Her main areas of interest are inequalities in child development, early childhood education and care services, residential mobility.
Benedetta worked as a Research Associate for CLS from 2016-2018. During her time here, she undertook methodological research on the different British cohort studies and investigated the determinants of healthy behaviours and lifestyles, and the intergenerational transmission of social capital and economic status.
Benedetta has a PhD in epidemiology and population health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her research interests include socio-economic inequalities in health, and inequalities in trajectories of healthy ageing. She now works at Bocconi University.
Following the lives of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1958 in Great Britain.
Following the lives of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1970 in Great Britain.
The most recent of Britain's cohort studies, following 19,000 young people born in the UK at the start of the new century.