Who else went to a daycare as a kid? I went to daycare and loved it! I loved running around and playing with my friends. When I reflect on my daycare experience I never think of the meals I ate, rather the creative games my friends and I would create. With this being said, daycare was definitely a good childhood experience. For this reason, it surprises me that today, claims have been made stating that daycare encourages weight gain in kids due to the lack of strict regulations by states regarding diet and exercise at child care facilities. Without thinking too much about this, I initially thought how is this so? While at daycare, a child spends most of the day remaining active and running around chasing one another. If anything, I think that daycare actually assists in keeping kids in good shape. Therefore I decided to research more into this topic.
Dr. Inyang Isong performed a study with approximately 10,700 U.S. children who all have diverse backgrounds. Isong stated that she and her associates tried to control the different factors that might act as confounding variables in this observational study in order to produce the most reliable results. Such variables included: child’s race and gender, parents’ financial status, etc. The null hypothesis of this study is that daycare does not encourage weight gain in children. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis is that after studying the children, there was a weight gain amongst children who attended daycare in comparison to those children who did not attend daycare. Isong and her colleagues found that the null hypothesis proved to be correct. With this being said, this observational study is not definitive and for better results, a double-blind, controlled experiment could randomly assign groups of children to daycare or to home care.
Based on this study, one could argue that the study did not necessarily put the thought that child obesity is furthered when children attend daycare to rest. A rational person could conclude that children exert a great deal of physical activity at day care through being surrounded by other kids. In addition, children do not spend a lot of time eating while at daycare, as they are typically more eager to play with their friends, which promotes healthy social development. While this is obviously not the case for all children, and it is likely that some kids are becoming obese through attending day care, but this same argument can be made for children who receive home care as they are not interacting with other children. All in all, one can conclude based on this study and rationalization, there is not a causal relationship between daycare and weight gain children, rather it is situational and will vary amongst different children. I personally think that daycare assists in ensuring that children are socially and physically fit, but what do you think?