Why your baby may be making you fatter
Published 05/05/2011 | 08:00
For stressed young parents, this will come as no surprise - a study has found that having small children makes it tougher to keep up healthy diet and exercise habits.
Parents of children aged five or younger generally exercised less often than people without children, while mothers in particular had less healthy eating habits than their childless peers.
"Although many dietary behaviours were the same between parents and non- parents, mothers reported greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and saturated fat compared to women without children," wrote lead researcher Jerica Berge, of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.
"Both mothers and fathers had lower amounts of physical activity than nonparents."
On average, the parents got less exercise than their childless peers, with mothers reporting fewer than 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each week compared to an average of just over three hours for women without children.
Fathers got less than 5.5 hours each week, versus almost seven hours among men with no children.
Similarly, a lack of time and energy is likely to increase reliance on "quick-fix" meals that tend to be higher in calories and fat, such as macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets.
Mothers averaged close to 400 more daily calories than women without children.