A worrisome consequence is that kids may maintain the extra weight as they grow. “The obesity epidemic was getting worse and worse even before the pandemic,” a CHOP pediatrician said.
Researchers across the country are reporting that pediatric obesity and a chronic condition that often goes with it, type 2 diabetes, have spiked since the start of the pandemic, particularly among Black, Hispanic, and low-income children.
The reasons seem clear.
“Efforts to reduce COVID-19 transmission have likely contributed to worsening pediatric obesity,” researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia wrote in Pediatrics in May. “Families with children have faced the difficulties of managing virtual schooling, limited physical activity, and increased reliance on heavily-processed and calorie-dense foods.”
“Maybe they could lose the [pandemic] weight gain,” CHOP pediatrician Brian Jenssen, lead author of the study, said this week. “More likely, they may maintain the extra weight as they grow. The obesity epidemic was getting worse and worse even before the pandemic.”