According to a new U.S. study, working parents that send their kids to day care centers don’t need to worry about their kids experiencing a heightened risk of obesity. The current research was published in the journal Pediatrics.
There have been numerous observational studies in the past that have suggested that kids that are sent to day care are more likely to gain weight than kids that are cared for at home by their parents. However, this new study which observed data from more than 10,000 children, found no link between these two factors.
Just like in the previous studies, some of the kids in the current research weren’t randomly assigned to day care and others to parental care which is actually the greatest foolproof method when it comes to assessing whether the provider or the setting has an influence on the risk of obesity explains, Dr. Inyang Isong, the lead author of the study.
Additionally, the new study adjusted a number of factors that can have an influence on obesity such as the age of the child, their gender, ethnicity, race, the socioeconomic state of the family they belong to, characteristics of the neighborhood they live in, the structure of the household, as well as the age and weight of the mother.
Dr. Isong also states that there might be underlying factors that have an influence on the weight of children. She explained that there are certain factors which differ amongst the arrangement of childcare like the feeding practices or the nutritional quality both at home and at the day care. Similarly, one underlying factor could also be the difference in the motivation behind the parents’ decisions regarding childcare.
In order to find out how childcare settings can have an influence on obesity, the researchers kept a track of 10,700 children, starting from 9 months old to when they were almost 5 years old. At the age of two, 49% of the 10,700 children were either in day care or in some other type of childcare non-parental setting.
The only problem with this new study is that it doesn’t depict whether or not the kids in day care were at a greater risk of becoming a victim of obesity after they entered kindergarten or before.
The researchers also point out that although they did account for a number of factors that might have an influence on the risk of obesity and can help in explaining the differences between the weight of the kids that are cared for by their parents at home and those in day care, there is a chance that this analysis might have underestimated some of the vital variables.
Regardless, Dr. Eliana Perrin, a pediatrics and nutrition researcher from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) says, that the failure of this new study to come up with a clear connection between obesity and day care is not surprising. She further explained that each child care is different from the next in terms of the activeness of children and the food that is given to them. She stated that parents that are blessed with the resources for making such choices differ in a number of ways from those parents that don’t have the same resources. Therefore, the important thing is to promote such policies which can improve the quality standards so that a family doesn’t have to choose between the child’s health and the child care affordability.