Over 80% of preschool‐aged children experience non‐parental childcare. Childcare type has the potential to influence weight outcomes, but its impact on childhood overweight/obesity is not well established. This review aims to (i) systematically evaluate the effects of childcare type on childhood overweight/obesity risk and (ii) investigate the impact of childcare intensity and age at commencement. Five electronic databases were searched for observational studies quantifying an association between childcare type ≤5 years and weight outcomes <18 years. Twenty‐four studies were included (n = 127,529 children). Thirteen studies reported increased risk of overweight/obesity in children attending informal care (n = 9) or centre care (n = 4) vs. parental care. Seven studies reported decreased risk of overweight/obesity for children in centre vs. ‘non‐centre’ care (parental and informal). Four studies reported no association between informal or centre care and overweight/obesity. Early (<3 years) informal care, especially by a relative, was associated with increased risk of overweight/obesity. Higher intensity childcare, especially when commenced early (<1 year), increased overweight/obesity risk. Later (≥3 years) centre care was associated with decreased risk of overweight/obesity. Early informal care, earlier commencement age and higher intensity represent a risk for childhood obesity. Exploration of the obesogenic aspects of these contexts is essential to inform preventative measures.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.