Relative-Provided Childcare and Children’s Risk of Obesity
Parini Shah, Emory University
One fifth of children in the U.S. receive childcare from a relative, and types of childcare may affect health, including obesity risks. Studies have found that young children attending childcare centers are more likely to be obese. We extend research to focus on relative-provided childcare and on older children (5th graders). We use the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Kindergarten Cohort 1998/9 to assess the associations between obesity and regular receipt of childcare from relatives, type of relative care provider, and type of non-parental care. Children who received care from a relative at least once per week were more often obese, but the association was explained by socioeconomic status. Children who were regularly cared for by a sibling especially were more often obese, but this association was explained by social and demographic characteristics. Children who received care through multiple arrangements and locations were more likely to be obese.