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The study aimed to assess the relationship of various types of kindergarten differing in length of care and food availability with the development of overweight in pre-school children.
Design, setting and subjects
A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2002 in Stuttgart, Germany, as part of the school entrance examination. Height and weight of 2140 children (participation 70.2%) were measured and information on type of kindergarten and other potential determinants of overweight was collected by a parental questionnaire. Change in relative body mass index (BMI) position between the ages of 4 and 6 years was assessed using medical records.
The prevalence of overweight or change in relative BMI position did not differ according to the type of kindergarten. For the prevalence of overweight in German children, adjusted odds ratios (OR) comparing institutions that open only in the morning with those opening in the morning and afternoon or for the full day were 0.86 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.40, 1.83) and 0.63 (95% CI 0.25, 1.58), respectively. Parental BMI and duration of television watching were positively associated, and maternal educational status and duration of breast-feeding were negatively associated, with overweight and/or change in relative BMI position. The prevalence of overweight was substantially higher among non-German than among German children (adjusted OR 2.17 (95% CI 1.53, 3.07)).
These data show no association between different types of kindergarten and the development of overweight in early childhood. Duration of television watching and breast-feeding, as well as the relatively high prevalence of overweight in ethnic minorities, deserve further attention.
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