Obesity in Child Care
A recent Canadian study found that young children who attend child care are 50 percent more likely to be overweight than those who are cared for by a parent at home.
The researchers from the University of Montreal and CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre studied more than 1,600 families with children born in 1997 and 1998 in Quebec. The children were categorised by the type of care they received in their pre-school years, from ages 1.5 to 4 years.
Rates of Children in Child Care Facilities
Approximately 30 percent of those children spent the majority of their time in child care, 35 percent were in family or home based childcare, 19 percent stayed home with their parents, 11 percent were cared for by an extended family-member and 5 percent had a nanny.
Researchers followed up with the children 10 years later and found evidence of a link between the amount of time spent in non-parental child care as a pre-school age child and the increased probability of being overweight.
The findings indicate that with each 5 hour increment in time spent in non-parental childcare, there was a 9 percent increase in the probability that a child would become overweight or obese in their first decade of life.
The study didn’t investigate possible causes for the findings, but the researchers did point out that the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity are good starting points for preventing childhood obesity. The study was published online on November 8 in the Journal of Pediatrics.