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They Say: Granny Daycare Makes Kids Fat

weight-on-scaleGranny daycare is supposed to be the next best thing to being able to stay home and care for your own kids 24/7. But a new study out of Britain claims letting your parents watch your kids could be bad for their health.

Granny and Gramps might just be making your kids fat.

Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the study examined the weights of thousands of three-year-olds and looked at who was caring for them. They found “informal” daycare arrangements – typically with a grandparent – put kids at a higher risk for childhood obesity than a formal daycare setting or staying home with a parent.

The risk was heightened if the granny daycare arrangement was full-time.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this won’t surprise many parents. Because what is a grandparent’s prerogative? You got it – spoil the bejesus out of that baby.

I would estimate ninety seven percent of all junk food that enters my home came from my parents’ house. Just a few weeks ago, my father picked up my daughter for an overnight at their house and made a stop off at the grocery store – ostensibly to pick up more milk. One box of Barbie fruit snacks, one bag of sugar cookies, one Pez dispenser and that gallon of milk later, they exited the store. Now imagine that on a full-time level.

Most parents I know with nearby grandparents say their kids eat the sort of thing at Grandma’s house that they weren’t allowed as kids. There’s that spoiling thing, but it also can’t be ignored that grandparents are traditionally better of financially now that their kids are out of the house. They feel like they have expendable income and who better to spend it on? Besides, when Mom and Dad aren’t buying Barbie fruit snacks, there’s nothing like that illicit treat to guarantee a smile.

Also a likely factor? The older you get, the less active you typically can be – throwing much of the activity level out the window. Even a hands-on grandparent who engages kids in crafts and worksheets all day to stimulate their mind needs to be aware that they need to get them moving as well.

The researchers suggest laying down ground rules for Gran. But how many of you feel comfortable telling your parents how to parent?

Image: kai hendry, flickr

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