Working mothers and playing with children

Mothers who have full-time jobs play with their kids less than those who stay at home or are unemployed. This is the finding of new research to be published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, which showed such women spend around three-and-a-half hours fewer cooking, shopping and goofing around with their little ones each day.

It was shown that working mums attempt to make up this deficit by purchasing prepared foods, which tend not to be as healthy as home-cooked meals.

Despite this, it was demonstrated that male partners are failing to plug the gap, with working dads giving just 13 minutes of their time to such duties each day and those without a job devoting 41 minutes.

John Cawley, Professor of Public Analysis and Management at Cornell University's College of Human Ecology, noted: "It's inaccurate to pin rising childhood obesity rates on women, given that husbands pick up so little of the slack."

Dr Almuth McDowall, a Chartered Psychologist, has a different angle on the topic:

"It does not take Albert Einstein to work out that time is a scarce commodity, and of course working parents are going to have less playtime for their children, and who can blame mothers for turning to ready meals if the dads don't help?

As a full-time working mum with three children, I don't buy supermarket meals, ever. But my husband is involved every day, this is how we do it.

So the big question is how to get other dads involved, and also how to support families and their children in other ways, so that everyone stays active and eats well. We have to make sure that we can hold on to our playing fields, and use them wisely."