Childcare before age 6 and body mass index at age 7 years in a cohort of Danish children

S. E. Benjamin Neelon*, C. Schmidt Morgen, M. Kamper-Jørgensen, E. Oken, M. W. Gillman, J. A. Gallis, Thorkild Sørensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Background: Previous studies show inconsistent associations between childcare and obesity. Aims: Our prior work demonstrated that childcare in infancy was associated with higher weight in a cohort of Danish children. Here, we extend this work and examine childcare through 6 years and body mass index (BMI) at age 7 years. Materials and Methods: We examined 24 714 children in the Danish National Birth Cohort who were also in the Childcare Database. We conducted multivariable linear regressions examining children prior to age 6, overall and by type (daycare, crèche, age-integrated and kindergarten), and BMI z-score at 7 years, stratifying on maternal socio-occupational status. Results: A total of 19 760 (80.0%) children attended childcare before age 6. Childcare prior to age 6 was associated with BMI z-score at 7 years (0.004 units per each additional 6 months of care; 95% CI: 0.001, 0.008; p = 0.01). Childcare in a kindergarten was the only type of care associated with BMI (0.009 units; 95% CI: 0.003, 0.02; p = 0.01). For children of higher socio-occupational status mothers, childcare was associated with a 0.008 unit increase in BMI (95% CI: 0.004, 0.01; p > 0.001). Conclusions: Childcare was weakly associated with later BMI. This relationship was more pronounced in children from higher socio-occupational status mothers and children in kindergarten care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-311
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number5
Early online date15 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Childcare
  • Danish National Birth Cohort
  • Denmark
  • Obesity

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Childcare before age 6 and body mass index at age 7 years in a cohort of Danish children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this