Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Child Care Exposure Influences Childhood Adiposity at 2 Years: Analysis from the ROLO Study

Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Child Care Exposure Influences Childhood Adiposity at 2 Years: Analysis from the ROLO Study

Article excerpt

[Author Affiliation]

Helena Scully. 1 UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Goiuri Alberdi. 1 UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Ricardo Segurado. 1 UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Aoife McNamara. 1 UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Karen Lindsay. 1 UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Mary Horan. 1 UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Eilis Hennessy. 2 School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

Eileen Gibney. 3 School of Agriculture & Food Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

Fionnuala McAuliffe. 1 UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Address correspondence to: Fionnuala McAuliffe, MD, FRCOG, FRCPI, UCD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin 2, Ireland, E-mail: fionnuala.mcauliffe@ucd.ie

Introduction

An estimated one in four children in Ireland are overweight or obese, and this is expected to increase year on year.1 Factors contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic are multifarious and difficult to determine.2 Intrinsic factors such as socioeconomic status (SES), parental BMI, and breastfeeding practices, combined with obesogenic influences, including greater snack foods availability, a westernized diet high in sugar and fat, and increased exposure to junk-food advertising, have been previously researched.2,3 Recent societal changes may also be influential, for instance, the increased proportion of women in the workplace, an increase in parents working nonstandard hours, higher proportion of children in child care, increased dependence on technology, and lack of community structure can contribute to the obesogenic environment.4-6

Child care attendance in informal (provided by grandparent/family) and formal (centre/crèche-based) settings is linked to increased overweight and obesity in children.7-9 However, the findings are inconsistent.10-12 In addition, studies conducted among predominately high13 and low14 SES cohorts have shown an increased propensity for obesity depending on the child care environment, with differential outcomes by gender.15 Early child care attendance is associated with undesirable infant-feeding practices, including shortened breastfeeding duration and early introduction to solid foods, with negative implications for childhood adiposity.16,17

Meals provided in child care and child care providers' attitudes and behaviors toward food directly impact the child's development of food choice and eating habits.3 Childhood dietary preferences are based on food exposure, with repeated exposures helping to minimize the rejection of unfamiliar foods.18 As such, child care providers are highly influential in the development of food preferences via the availability and variety of foods provided, meal structure, eating styles, food social practices, food parenting, and food modeling, that is, observational learning.3,18 The adoption of dietary patterns with high fruit and vegetable frequency is protective against future morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and obesity. …

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