16 May 2006

Working Moms are Healthier

[The Age, 15 May 2006] - AS IF they didn't have enough already. Women who have it all --- a partner, a job and a baby --- are also more likely to have better health and a better body.

Research published in the British Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health this week shows that women who have been partners, workers and mothers are much less likely to report ill health in the long term than women who did not fulfil all three roles.

Women who had worked during several periods of their lives were also much less likely to be obese than those who had rarely worked.

You can read the abstract of the study here. It is one of the better prospective studies I've read with a good sample size.

In an interview with Scientific American, the authors of the study said that, "the next step is to better understand what it is about particular work and family roles that influences people's health."

I can venture some guesses here. I think when a mom juggles minding the office, her baby (or babies), and her household chores (including marital problems), some balance is achieved. There's also some variety involved so mentally, she doesn't get bored. And this helps her a lot to unwittingly become fit or healthier than a counterpart who just stayed home and is a full-time housewife.

Also, in an office-setup, a boss is presumably watching and monitoring individual work. Whereas at home, a wife who is too kind to herself may cheat with housework, and eventually rest more, or eat more, rather than work. And we all know what happens with unburned calories, right?

6 reactions:

ipanema said...

I'm one of them! :) I think we don't have the time to laze around and think about petty things. Career, family and other things keep us so busy that there are times we even forget to eat! In this sense, working moms are healthy. BUT, sometimes due to work related stress, we get sick. This is what happened to me. My illness is stress related. My doctor told me to have a break. There are times towards the end of the year, I've been prescribed stress pills. So much for working moms.

may said...

well, "working mom" is sort of an oxymoron, but any kind of study that says we are doing great is good :)

by the way, please update your link when you get a chance, i moved to www.aboutanurse.com

i will still post my blogger username here, because unfortunately your comment section does not allow nonblogger account.

thanks a lot. will apprecate it.

may said...

"appreciate" i mean :)

Sidney said...

I will tell this to my wife next time she complains about her workload.

What about men? Is it true that beer, chips eating couch potatoes like me live longer? ;-)

ipanema said...

Yes sidney, you will live longer to read your next post and that beer you're holding maybe your last. Go, help your wife! :)


I think this superwoman ethos that the article is trying to portray women who are "all of the above" - wife, mother and career woman doesn't really reflect how health defines choices.

There are married women who used to work, motherhood comes in the way, so they opted to stay home. And if they are contented with what they do, most stay healthy and happy.

If there is marital unhappiness, even if one is working, that person is bound to feel unhealthy. I think it's more of staying mentally healthy than physically healthy.

bayibhyap said...

Working mothers are more balanced in the outlook on life in general. They have a balance in striking up relationships and they interact healthily with a broad spectrum of people. Full time housewives often confine themselves to the immediate family and those very closely related one way or another.