Health & Medicine

Doting grandparents could be factor in child obesity

Grandparents are known for doting on grandkids, but could their care be linked with making children fat?

A new study in the International Journal of Obesity finds that young children under the full-time care of grandparents might be at higher risk for being overweight than children who are looked after only by their parents.

The study included 12,354 3-year-olds in Britain who were part of the Millennium Cohort Study, which focused on the health of children in Britain born from 2000 to 2002.

Researchers discovered that by age 3, about 25 percent of the children in the study were in informal child care and that 75 percent of informal caregivers were grandparents. A little more than 20 percent of the children were in formal child care. By age 3, about 25 percent of children were overweight or obese, and the majority of the study participants were from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Children who were looked after by grandparents part-time showed a 15 percent higher risk of being overweight compared with children who were taken care of only by their parents. Children cared for by grandparents full time had a 34 percent increased risk of being overweight.

Kids in formal child care or who were cared for only by parents showed no greater tendency to being overweight.