Obesity and Daycare: New Study Sparks Children’s Health Debate

Angela Ayles
by Angela Ayles | November 20, 2012 @ 2:30 pm | 0 

Children who attend daycare have a significantly higher risk of becoming overweight and obese, according to a controversial new study released this week.

The study, conducted by researchers in Montreal, Canada, analyzed the relationship between overweight and obese kids with different types of childcare arrangements growing up. The report followed 1,649 children from infancy to age 10 – and the results are sparking huge amounts of controversy among parents and experts today.

“Compared with parental care, children who attended a centre-based child care had higher odds of being overweight/obese in childhood,” lead author Marie-Claude Geoffroy and her co-authors concluded in the research published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

To obtain the results, the study’s authors interviewed the mothers of the children about their kids’ care at ages 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and 4 years.

The study has drawn huge amounts of attention over the past few days. Immediately following its release, parents everywhere began challenging the results. Most parents insist that their kids get more exercise attending daycare (with other children) compared to being at home (alone or with only one or two siblings).

The authors note that some daycares are capable of providing appropriate care for children but further investigation is needed to ensure that all daycares are responsible for implementing certain levels of physical activity and proper nutrition each day.

“In Canada, existing guidelines provide broad recommendations (e.g., meals and snacks in accordance with the Canadian food and nutrition guidelines, encouraging high energy output activities such as running or jumping) that may be difficult to implement,” the authors wrote.

“The present study, along with previous ones, point to the need for investigations focusing on the quality of the nutrition and physical activity in child-care environments.”

Until set guidelines are implemented, the responsibility falls on parents to follow-up everyday to make sure their childcare provider is coordinating physical activities and serving up healthy foods to the kids each day.

Do you think children who attend daycare are more likely to become obese compared to kids that stay home with a parent?

Sound off in the comment section below!

Source: AlphaGalileo Foundation, CBC News