According to health officials, 19% of kids were obese as of 2019. In some populations, it is as high as 25%. A recent study estimated that by 2030, a staggering 55–60% of today’s children will be obese. This timeline may have been moved up even further thanks to the pandemic. Researchers have found that the number of 5- through 11-year-olds with overweight or obesity increased by 8.7% during the covid-19 pandemic. (Overweight or obesity increased among 5- through 11-year-olds from 36.2% to 45.7% during the pandemic)
While childhood obesity has increased during the pandemic, some might not even be aware of it: “children are gaining weight and parents live with their children so they might not notice it on a day-to-day basis” (Hayes, 2021).
Obesity-related diseases are also on the rise. Type 2 diabetes among Americans aged 10 to 19 nearly doubled between 2001 and 2017 (Coleman, 2021). “The impact of diabetes on youth is concerning as it has the potential to negatively impact these youth as they age and could be an early indicator of the health of future generations.”
Hayes, C. (2021). More children head back to school overweight amid pandemic. ABC15. Retrieved from: https://www.abc15.com/news/health/more-children-head-back-to-school-overweight-amid-pandemic
Woolford SJ, Sidell M, Li X, et al. (2021). Changes in Body Mass Index Among Children and Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.15036
Coleman, J. (2021). Type 2 diabetes nearly doubles among American youth: study. The Hill. Retrieved from: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/569340-type-2-diabetes-nearly-doubles-among-american-youth
Hemmingsson E. (2018). Early Childhood Obesity Risk Factors: Socioeconomic Adversity, Family Dysfunction, Offspring Distress, and Junk Food Self-Medication. Current obesity reports, 7(2), 204–209. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-018-0310-2. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958160/