The Effect of Postpartum Maternal Employment on Childhood Obesity

Health Outcomes Seminar

Lucy A. Bilaver, PhD, MS, MPP

Postdoctoral Fellow
Institute for Healthcare Studies
Northwestern University

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Noon–1 p.m.  
Room 2175 College of Medicine Research Bldg.
909 S. Wolcott St.

A light lunch will be provided.

This project investigates whether maternal employment during the first 12 weeks postpartum is associated with obesity in early childhood. Using linked mother-child pairs (N=1,952) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, the analysis tests the hypothesis that maternal work during the first 12 weeks postpartum increases the risk of obesity in early childhood (age 2-3 years). Furthermore, it tests the hypothesis that breastfeeding and type of child care arrangement mediate of the relationship between postpartum work and childhood obesity. Ordinary least squares regression is used in combination with mother and household level fixed-effects to control for time-constant, unobserved confounders. The results confirm that postpartum maternal employment is associated with an increased risk of obesity and that the breastfeeding duration is a significant mediator. The findings suggest that maternity leave policy, including state-level paid leave legislation, may be relevant to the public health response to high rates of childhood obesity.

The project described was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant UL1RR029879. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

This seminar is presented by the UIC CCTS REACH (Research Education and Careers in Health) Program and the UIC Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research.

For more information about this seminar, contact or (312-413-5429).