Child-Care Settings Before Kindergarten are Related to Kids' Obesity

Studying the impact of the child-care setting on childhood obesity

Researchers at the University of Washington's Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle used data from U.S. Department of Education's Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort to examine associations between children's child-care arrangements in the year prior to kindergarten and their likelihood of being obese at the beginning of kindergarten. They also looked at whether changes in obesity or overweight status were related to child-care arrangements or type of kindergarten (full versus part day) during the kindergarten year.

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study program examines child development, school readiness and early school experiences. The Kindergarten Cohort gathered information from a nationally representative sample of children who entered kindergarten during the 1998–1999 school year and followed them through 8th grade.

Key Findings: The researchers published these findings in an article in Pediatrics (122: 322–330, 2008):

  • Children in family, friend and neighbor care the year before kindergarten were more likely to be obese at the start of kindergarten than children in parent care in the year before kindergarten.
  • Non-Latino children in Head Start during the year before kindergarten were more likely to be obese at the start of kindergarten than non-Latino children in parent care, even after controlling for differences in household income.
  • Latino children in family, friend and neighbor care and in Head Start during the year before kindergarten were significantly less likely to be obese at the start of kindergarten than Latino children in parent care.

Most Requested