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Scand J Public Health. 2007;35(5):490-6.

Preschool children's sickness absenteeism from Norwegian regular and outdoor day care centres: a comparative study.

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Queen Maud's College of Early Childhood Education, Trondheim, Norway.



To examine whether there are any differences in sickness absenteeism between children in outdoor day care centres and regular day care centres and also to investigate whether other variables predict sickness absenteeism.


Data on sickness absence during a 4-week period together with several explanatory variables of 531 children in 32 regular and 37 outdoor day care centres were collected and included in the analysis. The data were analysed by generalized linear modelling.


The overall frequency of sickness absence was 5.1%. There was no general significant difference between sickness absenteeism in regular and outdoor day care centres. Of the other possible explanatory variables only two were found to contribute significantly: age, with a negative relationship, and the interaction effect of a child with a chronic disease or disability going to an outdoor day care centre, with a positive relationship.


The present study indicates that sickness absenteeism of a child without a chronic disease or disability is not affected by whether the child attends a regular or an outdoor day care centre. There seem to be no health benefits for children with chronic diseases or disabilities to attend outdoor day care centres--there is in fact evidence that sickness absence for those children is higher in outdoor centres.

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