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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Mar 9;14(3). pii: E283. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14030283.

The Health and Working Conditions of Women Employed in Child Care.

Author information

1
Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. linnan@email.unc.edu.
2
Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. linnan@email.unc.edu.
3
Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. arandia@live.unc.edu.
4
Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. lbateman@email.unc.edu.
5
Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. avaughn@email.unc.edu.
6
Department of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. natsmith@live.unc.edu.
7
Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. dsward@email.unc.edu.
8
Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. dsward@email.unc.edu.

Abstract

Over one million women are employed in child care and are among the lowest wage workers in the US. The health and working conditions of 674 child care workers (118 administrators and 556 staff) from 74 centers is described using baseline data from a larger intervention trial. Participants were 39.9 (±13.0) years old; 55.4% African American, 37.1% Caucasian, and 5.3% of Hispanic ethnicity. Seventy-six percent reported having an Associate's degree or less; 42% were classified as at or below poverty (<$20,000); and exhibited many health risks such as excess weight, insufficient activity, poor diet, and inadequate sleep. We investigated potential differences by income and job category. Lower income participants were significantly more likely to be current smokers (19.9% vs. 11.7%), drink more sweetened beverages (1.9 vs. 1.5), and report higher depressive symptoms (15.5 vs. 12.6). Administrators worked more hours weekly compared to staff (46.4 vs. 40.6), are less active (100 vs. 126 min/week), more sedentary (501 vs. 477 min/day), and reported higher job demands (13.3 vs. 12.5). Given the numerous health issues and challenging work conditions, we hope our results serve as a call to action for addressing low wages and the work environment as a means of influencing the health and well-being of child care workers.

KEYWORDS:

child care workers; job strain; low wage workers; work conditions

PMID:
28282940
PMCID:
PMC5369119
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph14030283
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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