The effect of day care attendance on infant and toddler’s growth
We aimed to study the association between day care attendance and changes in the height, weight and weight/height ratio over a 6-month period. Methods:
Data were retrieved from three maternal and child health care centres. Parents were asked to fill a short questionnaire regarding the infant/toddler life style, the day care facilities and the family demographic information. Results:
One hundred and seventy infants participated in the study. The research group consisted of 85 infants that had placed in day care centre prior to the age of 18 months. The control group consisted of 85 infants who had placed in day care at a later age. The research group had significantly shorter stature 3 months after day care enrolment (mean height percentiles of 56.9 versus 66.3, respectively, p = 0.024,). This trend was more pronounced after 6 months (mean height percentiles of 52.3 versus 63.7, p = 0.022). We could not, however, demonstrate a concomitant significant deceleration in weight or weight/height percentiles. Conclusions:
The explanation for this rather dramatic finding remains speculative. Possible mechanisms are stress-related growth hormone suppression. Our findings reinforce the importance of monitoring infant/toddler weight and height growth velocities, especially when he/she is introduced to day care.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2011-02-01