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Childcare in infancy and later obesity: A narrative review of longitudinal studies

Accepted version

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Nobre Da Costa, SS 
Gonzalez-Nahm, S 
Benjamin Neelon, SE 


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review was to summarize the current literature on the longitudinal relationship between non-parental childcare during infancy and later obesity.

Recent Findings

Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising 74 associations relevant to the review. Studies were highly heterogeneous in terms of defining childcare, categorizing different types of childcare, assessing obesity, and age at measurement of outcome and exposure. Most of the associations were either non-significant (42 associations, 57%) or showed a significant association between increased exposure to childcare and greater obesity (30 associations, 41%). There were very few examples of associations indicating that childcare was associated with lower obesity.


There is limited research on the longitudinal relationship between childcare in infancy and later obesity. Existing studies showed mixed results, similar to recent reviews reporting on cross-sectional studies and older ages. The different definitions of childcare and wide variety of measures of exposure make comparisons between studies challenging.



Child care, Nurseries, Infant, Adiposity, Body weight

Journal Title

Current Pediatric Reports

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Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
Funding from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.