CDC: Childhood obesity accelerated amid COVID-19

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Children and teens gained weight faster during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the rate of body mass index increase nearly doubling amid the pandemic compared to a pre-pandemic period, according to the CDC's Sept. 17 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

More than 432,000 people between the ages of 2 and 19 were included in the study. Researchers looked at longitudinal trends in BMI both before and during the pandemic. 

They found the rate of BMI increase approximately doubled from 0.052 prepandemic to 0.100 during the pandemic period, with children who were overweight or obese before the pandemic experiencing the sharpest increases. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 saw the sharpest increase in their rate of BMI change compared to other age groups. 

Additionally, the report found the proportion of children with obesity rose from 19.3 percent in August 2019 to 22.4 percent a year later. 

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adolescents spent more time than usual away from structured school settings, and families who were already disproportionately affected by obesity risk factors might have had additional disruptions in income, food, and other social determinants of health," the report said. "As a result, children and adolescents might have experienced circumstances that accelerated weight gain." 


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