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Child Care May Lead to Unwanted Weight Gain in Infants
Date:7/7/2008

Lack of breast-feeding and early introduction of solid foods may be to blame, study says

MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Infants cared for by caregivers other than their parents tend to gain more weight than children cared for by their parents, a new study says.

And children receiving regular care from people other than their parents are also less likely to be breast-fed and more likely to be introduced to solid foods early, the researchers found.

"The current study suggests this risk is greater among children sent to child care early than among children kept under parental supervision," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University School of Medicine's Prevention Research Center, who was not involved in the study.

Other studies have suggested that breast-feeding for up to the first 12 months of life may confer protection against obesity, so that may be one of the factors at work here, Katz said, referring to the study. "Feeding practices that take place in child-care settings may also be part of the formula," he said.

More and more evidence suggests that the threat of excess weight gain and obesity is taking hold in America's nurseries, Katz said. "Studies show obesity emerging as a problem even in the first year of life. This, in turn, results in a higher risk of diabetes in youth, and lifelong obesity and its many consequences."

For the new study, Juhee Kim, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Karen E. Peterson, of the Harvard School of Public Health, collected data on more than 8,100 nine-month-old infants. During home visits, between 2001 and 2002, the infants were weighed and measured, and the researchers gathered information about how the children were cared for.

Fifty-five percent of the children received regular care from someone other than a parent. Of these, half were in full-time child care, 40.3 percent began child care when they were young
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