This paper seeks to determine whether a causal relationship exists between maternal
employment and childhood overweight. We use matched mother/child data from the National
Longitudinal Survey of Youth and employ econometric techniques to control for observable and
unobservable differences across individuals and families that may influence both children’s weight
and their mothers’ work patterns. Our results indicate that a child is more likely to be overweight if
his/her mother worked more hours per week over the child’s life. Analyses by subgroups show that it
is higher socioeconomic status mothers whose work intensity is particularly deleterious for their
children’s overweight status.