The next time you see children gorging on junk food, don’t blame the mothers. Instead blame the father’s education and socio-economic condition of the family.
This is revealed by Dr Nafis Faizi, Assistant Professor (Department of Community Medicine, J N Medical College, JNMC), Aligarh Muslim University in a research paper published in the prestigious Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) jointly authored with Arzi Adbi, Doctoral Student of Strategy, INSEAD, Singapore and Dr Chirantan Chatterjee, Assistant Professor, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. The paper questions the ‘Maggi Controversy’ and the ‘Lazy Mother Argument’.
In the paper titled, “Analysing the Lazy Mother Argument Inspired by the Maggi Controversy and Evidence from Junk Food Intake in India,” Dr Faizi and his co-authors have found that junk food intake decreased with mothers’ education, but increases with father’s education status and income. They have argued that wealthier and more educated fathers are more likely to feed children with junk food.
The research published in EPW counters the argument that ‘new-generation mothers’ have become lazy and therefore, feed two-minute noodles and other junk food to children.
Dr Faizi points out that paternal factors play a big role in adolescents’ health outcomes. He added that findings of his research suggest that the junk food intake of adolescents show a decrease with mother’s education but increase with father’s education.
Dr Faizi’s research is based on a WHO- Global School-based Student Health Survey (WHO-GSHS) conducted in AMU’s STS High School, City High School and Abdullah Girl’s High School.