Childcare in Infancy and Later Obesity: a Narrative Review of Longitudinal Studies

Silvia Costa, Jean Adams, Sarah Nahm, Sara E. Benjamin Neelon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: The purpose of this review was to summarize the current literature on the longitudinal relationship between non-parental childcare during infancy and later obesity. Recent Findings: Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising 74 associations relevant to the review. Studies were highly heterogeneous in terms of defining childcare, categorizing different types of childcare, assessing obesity, and age at measurement of outcome and exposure. Most of the associations were either non-significant (42 associations, 57%) or showed a significant association between increased exposure to childcare and greater obesity (30 associations, 41%). There were very few examples of associations indicating that childcare was associated with lower obesity. Summary: There is limited research on the longitudinal relationship between childcare in infancy and later obesity. Existing studies showed mixed results, similar to recent reviews reporting on cross-sectional studies and older ages. The different definitions of childcare and wide variety of measures of exposure make comparisons between studies challenging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-131
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Pediatrics Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Adiposity
  • Body weight
  • Child care
  • Infant
  • Nurseries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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