The CDC reported that 24.2% of Black children aged 2-19 years old were obese in 2017-2018. New research shows that those numbers may have increased. The research, published Aug. 27 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirms the pandemic has not been good for the waistlines of children.
During lockdowns, American kids gained more weight than before the pandemic, and the number who became obese also increased, researchers report.
“This increased weight gain occurred in all youth between 5 and 17 years, but was particularly evident in children ages 5 to 11 — an excess weight gain of over 5 pounds,” study author Deborah Young, director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California says.
“During economic shutdowns like what we had in 2020, there needs to be continued opportunities for youth to be physically active and to enjoy healthful eating options,” she adds.
For the study, Young’s team used Kaiser Permanente Southern California electronic health records to collect data on nearly 200,000 girls and boys aged 5 to 17.
Participants had their weight measured before and during the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, 39% of children were overweight or obese. During the pandemic, overweight or obesity increased among 5- through 11-year-olds from 36% to 46% — an absolute increase of 9% and relative increase of 24%, the researchers found.
The absolute increase in overweight or obesity was 5% among 12- through 15-year-olds, a relative increase of 13%, and 3% among 16- through 17-year-olds, a relative increase of 8%.
The obesity problem was always around, according to an expert.
“Overweight and obesity were a pandemic before COVID, and unlike COVID, represent a