Cute as kids are, they're bad for your health. Moms eat more and get less exercise than women without children, according to research published in April in the journal Pediatrics.
Mothers had a higher body mass index (BMI) and ate less-healthy foods than women sans kids; their diets were more likely to include sugary drinks and more calories and saturated fat. "We all relate to that feeling of not being able to pay attention to your health because of parenting demands," says Jerica Berge, the study's lead researcher and an assistant professor in the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota.
While dads exercised less than childless men, their BMI inexplicably remained similar to that of men without kids, according to the research, which tracked 838 women and 682 men. Moms didn't fare as well: their BMI suffered when they exercised 4.5 hours a week, compared with the 6 hours that childless women put in at the gym.
Moms also chowed down more than women without children, consuming an average of 2,360 calories a day, vs. childless women's 1,992. Researchers didn't ask why that might be, but anecdotal evidence (read: personal experience) suggests it may be attributed to grazing on kiddie leftovers.