Stay-at-home moms may have been right all along when their maternal instincts told them they're best equipped to care for their children.
A new study from N.C. State University concludes that children of mothers who work outside the home have a significantly higher risk of health problems, accidents and injuries.
The study found that kids of working moms have a 200 percent increase in the risk of experiencing overnight hospitalizations, asthma episodes and injuries or poisonings.
Parenting is an intensely emotional subject that leads to feelings of guilt, inadequacy and -- just as often -- a sense of superiority among parents, particularly among moms who handle the bulk of child-rearing duties. The so-called mommy wars have heated up in recent years as the numbers of women with children under age 18 who are in the workforce has risen to more than 75 percent.
Dr. Melinda Morrill, the N.C. State economics professor who authored the study, warned against making sweeping moral judgments against moms who work outside the home. But she notes that parenting choices involve trade-offs that must be acknowledged.
"Maternal employment imposes a burden on a mother's time and may result in the poorer supervision or care of her children," Morrill's study says. "A child's health is at least partially a funtion of time-intensive activities such as healthy meal preparation and house cleaning."
Morrill's research looked at 89,000 kids age 7 to 17, examining 20 years of data from the federal National Health Interview Survey.
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