You asked

Do infants cared for outside their home become heavier toddlers?

A Harvard study shows that when a child under the age of 6 months is cared for in a child minders home, they will most likely be a heavier toddler.

The study suggests that a child who is cared for in their own home, even when the care is provided by someone that is not the parent, will not gain as much weight between the ages of 1 and 3, as a child who is cared for in a private home by a child minder. This holds true for children that are cared for in a crèche as well.

The researchers believe that the informal setting of a home as compared to the formal setting of a crèche makes the difference. And, at the child’s home, it’s likely the parent is more attune to the child’s diet and activities. While in an outside home, perhaps the discipline of eating healthy and playtime is lax compared to that of a formal setting like a crèche.

It’s estimated that between 9% and 12 % of all children under age 2 exceed the average normal weight. The danger of such a rapid weight gain has been studied. It was determined that children who have rapid weight gain in the first two years of life are more likely to be overweight as an adult. Additionally, overweight in infancy is associated with lifelong blood pressure conditions.

All parents should be advocates for their children and make sure that their child minder is feeding a proper diet and providing the correct amount of physical activity.

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