Participation in a childcare program appears to increase the likelihood that a child will be obese when he or she shows up for the first day of kindergarten, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

Moreover, the report indicates that the type of childcare makes a difference. For instance, children who receive care from a relative, friend, or neighbor, held at least occasionally in the child’s own home, were more prone to obesity than those who received care at a daycare center or nursery school.

Latino children, however, seemed to be the exception. While they were found to be at greater risk for obesity than kids of other races, they were less likely to become obese when enrolled in a childcare program rather than spending the week with a parent.

The study, conducted by Dr. Erin J. Maher, from Casey Family Programs in Seattle, and colleagues, involved nearly 16,000 first-time kindergartners who had or had not been enrolled in childcare, defined as spending at least 10 hours per week in care not provided by a parent.

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