Covid-19: Children gained additional weight during pandemic, new study finds

By: |
August 31, 2021 4:36 PM

The researchers analysed records of 1,91,509 Kaiser Permanente members in the 5-17 age group from March 1, 2019, to January 31 this year.

childhood obesityAccording to the US CD), childhood obesity in the country is a serious problem. (Representational image)

Young children, especially in the 5-11 age group, were plagued by excess weight gain during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found.

Corinna Koebnick, senior author of study from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research & Evaluation, said when the weight gain among children between 2019 and 2020 was compared, it was found that youth across ages gained more weight during the pandemic.

Kaiser Permanente is a healthcare consortium in Portland, California.

The researchers analysed records of 1,91,509 Kaiser Permanente members in the 5-17 age group from March 1, 2019, to January 31 this year.

Children aged between 5 and 11 years gained an additional 5.07 pounds (approx. 2.30 kg) during the pandemic compared to the same period before Covid-19. Children in the 12-15 age group gained an additional 5.1 pounds (approx. 2.31 kg), while those in the 16-17 age group gained 2.26 pounds (approx. 1.02 kg) in excess over the prior year.

In the 5-11 age group, this additional weight gain led to almost 9 per cent more children becoming obese or overweight. The figures for the 12-15 and 16-17 age groups were 5 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. Among the 5-11 and 12-15 age groups, most of the weight gain was because of an increase in obesity.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity in the country is a serious problem, and puts children and adolescents at a high risk of poor health.

Between 2017 and 2018, obesity was prevalent in 19 per cent or 14.4 million children and adolescents between 2 and 19 years. Obesity among children of certain populations was more alarming than others.

The prevalence of obesity among Hispanic children was 25.6 per cent and 24.2 per cent in non-Hispanic Black children. For non-Hispanic White children, the figure stood at 16.1 per cent, while that among non-Hispanic Asian children was 8.7 per cent.

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