Too busy to eat with the kids? Parental work and children's eating

Susan E. Chen, Anke Möser, Rodolfo M. Nayga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Parents influence their children's eating behavior by providing access to certain types of food, creating enjoyable mealtimes and associations with food, and by role modeling. In this study we investigate the association between parental employment and parental time spent eating with their children. Using data from the 2001/02 German Time Budget Survey, we explore associations between time spent eating with children and labor force participation in Germany. We find that parental labor force participation is negatively associated with time spent eating with children. Each additional hour of work per day by the mother is associated with a 2.4 minute decrease in the amount of time the mother spends eating with her children. For paternal hours of work, we find that the more time a father spends working, the less time the child spends eating with the father or with both parents. Overall, we find evidence of mother inter-gender time substitution and some amount of time/food away from home substitution. Understanding how parents allocate their time, where they are most likely to eat, and what drives these decisions is an important endeavor since parents play a critical role in shaping and reinforcing their children's eating practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-377
Number of pages31
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept


  • Children's eating patterns
  • Parental time allocation
  • Time use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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