Juvenile obesity during the pandemic

What parents can do to keep kids healthy
Schoolchildren enjoying their lunch
Posted at 10:25 PM, Feb 21, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The coronavirus pandemic has millions of Americans finding to stay healthy and safe at home during the pandemic, and for kids it can also be more difficult. This is especially true with online learning and a drop-in activity outside causing higher levels of obesity among kids.

"We’ve all been staying home and not moving as much and have as more access to snacks and food at home,”

Banner-University Medicine pediatrician Dr. Helene Felman says families are dealing with food insecurities and financial issues--and that makes it harder to get healthier foods into the home. When it comes to solutions Felman works with families to set goals for success.

"We’ve all been staying home and not moving as much and we have more access to snacks and food at home. For example, if a child is having juice every day I say, it's much healthier to have 1 orange instead because a glass of juice takes 3 oranges,” Felman said

The American Academy of Pediatrics says its best to create a schedule for meals and snacks. It’s also a good idea limit screen time and to get some fresh air when you can.

“Focusing on trying to incorporate physical activity when at home try to offer fresh fruits and vegetables when at home,”

According to the CDC 22% of African American children are battling obesity. That number grows to 25% among Hispanic children.

The worry is if those numbers grow combined with poverty situations, the risk of COVID-19 complications go up.

"Obesity is made up of three large factors the first being genetic but the second two being behavior and environmental and those last two things have changed dramatically with the pandemic,” Felman said.

American Academy of Pediatrics also reports that one out every seven kids in the us between 10 and 17-years-old are dealing with obesity.

“The other thing that we’ve been seeing a lot of are mood disorders in children anxiety, depression and that affects how we eat as well,” Felman said.

Information for parents: