Working moms are healthier than stay

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Working moms are healthier than stay

  1. 1. Working Moms Are Healthier Than Stay-At-Home Moms, Sociologist FindsMain Category: Womens Health / GynecologyAlso Included In: Mental Health; Public HealthArticle Date: 20 Aug 2012 - 1:00 PDTWorking moms striving to "have it all" now can add another perk to their list of benefits - health.New research from University of Akron Assistant Sociology Professor Adrianne Frech finds thatmoms who work full time are healthier at age 40 than stay-at-home moms, moms who work parttime, or moms who have some work history, but are repeatedly unemployed.Frech and co-author Sarah Damaske of Pennsylvania State University examined longitudinaldata from 2,540 women who became mothers between 1978 and 1995. Accounting for pre-pregnancy employment, race/ethnicity, cognitive ability, single motherhood, prior healthconditions and age at first birth, the research reveals that the choices women make early in theirprofessional careers can affect their health later in life. Women who return full time to theworkforce shortly after having children report better mental and physical health, i.e. greatermobility, more energy, less depression, etc. at age 40."Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically," says Frech. "It gives women asense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy. They have a place where they are anexpert on something, and theyre paid a wage."Rather than fueling the "Mommy Wars" debate, which pits stay-at-home moms against workingmoms, Frech believes that a recently identified group - she calls this group "persistentlyunemployed" - deserves further attention, as they appear to be the least healthy at age 40. Thesewomen are in and out of the workforce, often not by choice, and experience the highs and lowsof finding rewarding work only to lose it and start the cycle again."Struggling to hold onto a job or being in constant job search mode wears on their health,especially mentally, but also physically," says Frech.According to Frech, working full time has myriad benefits, while part-time work offers lowerpay, poor chances of promotion, less job security and fewer benefits. Mothers who stay at homemay face financial dependence and greater social isolation. Persistent unemployment is a healthrisk for women, as stress from work instability can cause physical health problems."Women with interrupted employment face more job-related barriers than other women, or
  2. 2. cumulative disadvantages over time," says Frech. "If women can make good choices before theirfirst pregnancy, they likely will be better off health-wise later. Examples of good choices couldbe delaying your first birth until youre married and done with your education, or not waiting along time before returning to the workforce."Frech says there is hope for young women. She advises young women to get an education andbuild a work history before having a first child."Dont let critical life transitions like marriage and parenthood mean that you invest any less inyour education and work aspirations, because women are the ones who end up making moretrade-offs for family" Frech says. "Work makes you healthier. You will have the opportunity tosave a nest egg. Also, should a divorce happen, it is harder to enter the workforce if you donthave a solid work history. Dont give up on work and education."From a societal perspective, Frech says that offering childcare and transportation resources tosingle mothers could result in better employment options for that population.The Impact On Children, Families Of PoorOral HealthMain Category: DentistryAlso Included In: Pediatrics / Childrens Health; Public HealthArticle Date: 15 Aug 2012 - 0:00 PDTPoor oral health, dental disease, and tooth pain can put kids at a serious disadvantage in school,according to a new Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study."The Impact of Oral Health on the Academic Performance of Disadvantaged Children,"appearing in the September 2012 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, examinednearly 1500 socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and high school children in the LosAngeles Unified School District, matching their oral health status to their academic achievementand attendance records.Ostrow researchers had previously documented that 73 percent of disadvantaged kids in LosAngeles have dental caries, the disease responsible for cavities in teeth. The new study shineslight on the specific connection between oral health and performance in school for thispopulation, said Roseann Mulligan, chair of the schools Division of Dental Public Health andPediatric Dentistry and corresponding author of the study.
  3. 3. Children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low gradepoint average - below the median GPA of 2.8 - when compared to children without oral pain,according to study results.Poor oral health doesnt just appear to be connected to lower grades, Mulligan said, adding thatdental problems also seem to cause more absences from school for kids and more missed workfor parents."On average, elementary children missed a total of 6 days per year, and high school childrenmissed 2.6 days. For elementary students, 2.1 days of missed school were due to dentalproblems, and high school students missed 2.3 days due to dental issues," she said. "That showsoral health problems are a very significant factor in school absences. Also, parents missed anaverage of 2.5 days of work per year to care for children with dental problems."A factor in whether children miss school due to dental health issues was the accessibility ofdental care. Eleven percent of children who had limited access to dental care - whether due tolack of insurance, lack of transportation, or other barriers - missed school due to their poor oralhealth, as opposed to only four percent of children who had easier access to dental care."Our data indicates that for disadvantaged children there is an impact on students academicperformance due to dental problems. We recommend that oral health programs must be moreintegrated into other health, educational and social programs, especially those that are school-based," Mulligan said. "Furthermore, widespread population studies are needed to demonstratethe enormous personal, societal and financial burdens that this epidemic of oral disease iscausing on a national level. "

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