Repository logo

Associations of childcare type, age at start, and intensity with body mass index trajectories from 10 to 42 years of age in the 1970 British Cohort Study.

Accepted version



Change log


BACKGROUND: Attending childcare is related to greater childhood obesity risk, but there are few long-term follow-up studies. We aimed to examine the associations of childcare type, age at start, and intensity with body mass index body mass index (BMI) trajectories from ages 10 to 42 years. METHODS: The sample comprised 8234 individuals in the 1970 British Cohort Study, who had data on childcare attendance (no, yes), type (formal, informal), age at start (4-5, 3-3.99, 0-2.99 years old), and intensity (1, 2, 3, 4-5 days/week) reported at age 5 years and 32 563 BMI observations. Multilevel linear spline models were used to estimate the association of each exposure with the sample-average BMI trajectory, with covariate adjustment. A combined age at start and intensity exposure was also examined. RESULTS: Attending vs not attending and the type of childcare (none vs formal/informal) were not strongly related to BMI trajectories. Among participants who attended childcare 1 to 2 days a week, those who started when 3 to 3.99 years old had a 0.197 (-0.004, 0.399) kg/m2 higher BMI at age 10 years than those who started when 4 to 5 years old, and those who started when 0 to 2.99 years old had a 0.289 (0.049, 0.529) kg/m2 higher BMI. A similar dose-response pattern for intensity was observed when holding age at start constant. By age 42 years, individuals who started childcare at age 0 to 2.99 years and attended 3 to 5 days/week had a 1.356 kg/m2 (0.637, 2.075) higher BMI than individuals who started at age 4 to 5 years and attended 1 to 2 days/week. CONCLUSIONS: Children who start childcare earlier and/or attend more frequently may have greater long-term obesity risk.



birth cohort study, body mass index, childcare, obesity, trajectories, Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Body Mass Index, Child, Child Care, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, England, Ethnicity, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Obesity, Pediatric Obesity, Young Adult

Journal Title

Pediatr Obes

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title





All rights reserved
Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/7)
WJ is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (New Investigator Research Grant: MR/P023347/1) and acknowledges support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, which is a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Loughborough University, and the University of Leicester. JA is funded by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence which is funded by 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 (MRC administered grant MR/K023187/1).
Is derived from: