East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

March 12 Workshop


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society Presents

Are Korean Latchkey Children Overweight? :
Maternal Work Schedule, Children’s Dietary Patterns, and Their Body Mass Index



Haena Lee

PhD Student

Department of Sociology

University of Chicago

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday

March 12, 2013

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.



Studies have consistently shown a positive association between maternal employment status (for example, employed vs. non-employed) and childhood obesity. However, little is known about the impact of maternal work schedules at nonstandard times (for example, evening, night and irregular shifts) and no previous examination of maternal work shift and child’s body mass index (BMI) was conducted in Korean population. In this paper, I examine the question of whether Korean mother’s nonstandard work schedule is associated with their children’s BMI, over and above the impact of children’s dietary patterns (e.g., breakfast skipping and dining out meals). Data were analyzed from the most recent wave of children aged 2 through 18 years (N=2,035) in the Fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2010 (KNHANES). Children were measured and classified as overweight or obese using the age- and sex- specific percentile for BMI from 2007 Korean CDC National Growth Chart. Using logistic regression analyses, I found that, when Korean mothers work nonstandard schedule, the odds of their children being overweight or obese are 76% higher than those whose mothers work standard schedule (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.07-2.89) and this association was mediated by frequency of dining out meals. There was no evidence that mother’s socio-demographic characteristics or children’s dietary pattern such as breakfast/dinner skipping mediated this association. Findings indicate that prevention and intervention within the context of maternal work schedule and child-care arrangements must be considered in order to prevent further significant increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity in Korea.


Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Le Lin (lelin2010@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Dingxin Zhao and Zheng Michael Song

This presentation is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

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