Nursery increases children’s risk of obesity by 50 per cent

Children who regularly go to daycare or are looked after by relatives are 50 per cent more likely to be obese than those who are looked after at home by their parents

If your kids regularly go to nursery or are looked after by others, they’re more likely to become obese by the time they go to school, according to new research.

Parents have been advised that if they aren’t involved in their children’s day-to-day care, they need to work harder to ensure they’re eating right and getting enough exercise. Children looked after by parents at home more likely to be a healthy weight than their obese friends at nursery …

But experts have admitted they’re not sure the exact reason for the hugely increased risk of obesity for daycare children, though unsurprisingly they’ve linked it to the amount of physical exercise children get and their diets outside the home.

Children from 1,649 families were studied by a team in Quebec, who took into account other factors such as socioeconomic status and health of the parents. Over six years, the children’s height and weight was regularly measured and differences noted.

Researchers said that nurseries and daycare could make significant improvements by encouraging healthy eating and more exercise, and tried to allay parents fears by recommending they take control of their child’s weight when at home.

Study co-author Dr Sylvana Côté said: “Parents don't have to worry; however, I suggest to parents they ensure their children eat well and get enough physical activity, whether at home or at daycare.”