Obesity in children has skyrocketed during covid 19. With the pandemic came social distancing and lockdowns all over the world. Suddenly schools, offices, theatres, colleges and, more got shut. People became more and more sedentary. Less physical activity has made children more prone to obesity. Children’s obesity rates have jumped right in the initial months of the pandemic.
Factors contributing to obesity in children:-
- Online schooling during the pandemic
With the pandemic, online classes became the new norm. These classes more or less took care of the academic part of things. But, children’s activity levels took a toll. They missed out on social interaction as well as physical activity. Sitting in one room, indoors all day is bad for a child. There is no movement whatsoever and as a result, the body slows down.
- Lack of entertainment
Children are easily bored. They need a lot of stimulation and activity to get through the day. Usually, school usually takes care of a major part of this need. The activities in school like meeting friends, and engaging in physical activity, especially during the PE classes help a lot. Even a child who isn’t sporty at least gets some physical activity just going up and down the corridors and floors. With the pandemic came social distancing. So, children could not even go out to play anymore. The parents were too scared to send them out. As a result, children became more and more sedentary which is a major contributor to childhood obesity during pandemic.
- Eating out of boredom
People often turn to food when bored or in need of comfort. Children are no different. As a result studying at home with no fixed meal timings, snacking became frequent and portions became larger. The snacks are often high in sugar, high in fat, and nutrient-deficient. A lot of working parents also became enablers and wanted to appease the kids anyhow. Giving them food was easier than anything else. Parents too, started to eat to cope with the stress of the pandemic as well as work. All this led to a very striking increase in the average obesity rate in children.
Urgent action against obesity
In conclusion, it is alarming to see how the average BMI of children is increasing. Obesity in several children will most likely persist if not checked. It causes several lifestyle-related diseases in early adulthood. Obese people are at higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, migraines and arthritis. Most importantly parents should become more alert to stop it before it’s too late!