Oh, I completely agree that it’s more complicated than just the absence of parental supervision. The article says as much itself, and implies such from the fact that the causal relationship was (this is from memory, but it’s approximately right I’m sure) 11-12%.
I also completely agree that fathers need to step up to the plate and take responsibility here too. These statistics were showing a causal relationship based on how things were and are, not on how we think they should be. The author said that links were so strong to mothers’ working hours per day because generally and historically women take and have taken a more active role in child rearing, including control over diet and supervision of outside play. As such, as the increase in the time separated from the mother has been coincident not with more parental supervision from the father but rather with no supervision or day-care supervision – and that’s the differential measured.
Also, with the 11-12% causation, that leaves almost 90% of causation to other factors, including but not limited to diet, exercise, genetics, health, TV watching, etc. None of these are mutually exclusive causes, and they likely work synergistically to create the weight problem.
Still, all that said and considered, to me this says that both parents need to sit down and figure out how to make sure little Johnny or little Susie is supervised and raised, and both should also be willing to make some sacrifices in their professional lives for the sake of their children. That’s MHO.