The pandemic has negatively affected children’s waistlines, according to recent research. According to the researchers, American kids increased their weight, body fats, and their diet during lockdowns, and the number of overweight and obese children increased as well.
Deborah Young, director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, said the increased weight gain occurred in all children between 5 and 17 years of age, particularly in children aged 5 to 11. There must be continued opportunities for youth to engage in physical activity and to enjoy healthy eating options during economic downturns like what happened in 2020, she said.
A Pandemic Caused Kids To gain Extra Pounds
If epidemics continue to require major educational, recreational, and economic shutdowns like those that took place in 2020, Young said that weight-loss interventions are necessary to prevent excess weight gain. As a parent, you should make sure that your child has lots of opportunities for physical activity during pandemics, she said.
The children’s well-being is enhanced by participation in sports, lessons, and classes, as well as spending free time outside and visiting parks and playgrounds. As well as providing healthy snacks between meals, Young suggests parents give their children regular exercise.
Physical activity breaks can be enforced, and quality physical education can be given during pandemics. As well as encouraging fruit and vegetable snack breaks, they can also ensure flexible scheduling during the time of virtual learning, she added.
A total of nearly 200,000 boys and girls aged 5 to 17 were enrolled in the study. Young’s team collected data from Kaiser Permanente Southern California electronic health records. The weight of pandemic participants was measured before and during the outbreak. The prevalence of obesity among children was 39% before the pandemic. The researchers observed an increase in obesity and overweight rates among children aged between 5 and 11 at the time of the pandemic from 36% to 46%, an increase of about 9% in terms of absolute numbers, and 24% in terms of relative numbers.
According to the study, the proportion of overweight or obese 12 and 15-year-olds rose by 5%, while teenagers gained 3%, a 13% relative increase. Unaffiliated experts said that the obesity problem has always existed. In contrast to COVID 19, overweight and obesity have been chronic diseases without a clear end in sight for decades, said Dr. David Katz, president of the True Health Initiative, a group that promotes healthy lifestyles.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, obesity played a major role in aggravating the acute, adverse effects of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Worldwide, obesity ranks as the greatest predictor of severe COVID 19 infections among people younger than 50, he noted. People have generally been distracted from the importance of overall healthy living due to the acute strains of the pandemic, Katz said.
According to him, it has been established in the past that adults are gaining weight and their eating habits are deteriorating. Along with the challenges of engaging in your preferred form of exercise, there are numerous obstacles that may make it difficult to stay physically active.
Study results showing trends in weight gain in children concern Katz. As a result, obesity will be associated with an increase in COVID risks within the next few years, as well as the possibility of diabetes and another chronic cardiometabolic disease developing over time.
The world’s population is suffering from several pandemics at once, according to Katz. In fact, it is more important to pay attention to the issue that has been at the forefront for decades – the devastating effect of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease on children and adults alike. To promote weight loss, we must put in a lot of effort.