Is Daycare Unhealthy?

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 topic1792.

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?


2 thoughts on “Is Daycare Unhealthy?

  1. Monica Lynn Powell

    I had never heard that this was a recent concern! I think you did a really great job explaining the study, the things they did well and the areas that needed improving. You also did a great job pulling in concepts that we have talked about in class. When I read this, my first thought was that maybe it was a confounding third variable such as unhealthy food in the home lack of attention from their parents. There are all sorts of reasons as to why kids would be in daycare. Their parents definitely work long hours and can’t be with them. When they finally are done work and able to pick up their little ones, they may not have energy to make a healthy meal and choose a quick, less healthy option instead. That could be one cause. Some kids who are in daycare may not be getting the attention they want from their parents and dealing with that by eating more. I have no idea if either of these are likely but they are what first came to mind when I read your article. I think that daycare has a lot of positives for kids like you said and maybe parents with kids in daycare just need to be extra alert to make sure they are meeting their child’s needs. Here’s an article explaining the long term benefits of daycare…and weight gain is not one!

  2. Mackenzie French

    I personally went to daycare when I was younger and the kids I babysit also go to daycare, so I can relate to your blog post. Obviously I don’t remember my time at day care but my parents said I loved it. When I babysit, the kids always tell me stories from their fun at daycare. They tell me about their new friends, what activities they did and come home with a bunch of arts and crafts. Every story they have told me has been positive, which furthers my belief that day care is healthy. I think it’s a great thing for families to be provided with. Not only can the parents be able to go to work confident that their child is safe, but the kids get to have fun, in a diverse environment. They are exposed to many kids and they learn at a young age how to be social with one another. They learn how to share toys and how to play with kids of different age. I think daycare is very healthy, and so does Fox news!

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