Weight Gain Up Among Children During Pandemic

With remote learning, pediatricians say, comes the increased risk of weight gain and childhood obesity

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There's concern that the pandemic will boost the rates of childhood obesity.

Most recently, a study out of the University at Buffalo found obese kids under lockdown in Italy ate more junk food, watched more TV at expense of physical activity.

Pediatricians said with virtual learning, children don't have their normal access to healthy food at school or they're at home snacking all day and getting little exercise.

"I've seen children gain upwards of 20 to 30 pounds during the pandemic," said Dr. Angela Moemeka of Mark9 Pediatrics in Coppell.

Dr. Moemeka said weight gain is one of the negative impacts of the pandemic for school-age children.

Sitting at home for long periods of time with limited physical activity is partly to blame, but Moemeka said the bigger issue is in the kitchen.

"They're home. They are able to snack a lot more. A lot of the snacking is unsupervised so that combination of decreased physical activity and increased caloric intake is really what's leading to a lot of the increase of weight that we are noticing."

She suggests getting kids active by doing activities with them.

Now, that everyone is home, involve them in creating balanced family meals.

"We have said that it's not just the child that has weight issues you need to focus on. You really need to focus on the family as a whole and make sure you are making healthy choices as a family because then, it becomes a lifestyle change."

How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

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