According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity rates skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic to “substantial and alarming” levels, as reported by Fox News.
The CDC’s findings, released on Thursday, determined that increases in obesity were most prevalent among children who were already overweight before the pandemic started, but found a “profound increase in weight gain for kids” across the board. Overall, the study determined that 22 percent of American children and teenagers were obese in August of 2020, which marked an increase of 3 percent from August of 2019.
Also reported by the study was that children who had previously been gaining weight at a healthy rate of 3.4 pounds a year prior to the pandemic had gained an average of 5.4 pounds over the course of the pandemic. Among children who were “moderately obese,” expected weight gains rose from 6.5 pounds to 12 pounds after the pandemic started. Children in the “severely obese” category saw their expected weight gains rise from 8.8 pounds to 14.6 pounds.
The most dramatic increase by age group was among children between 6 and 11 years old, with the CDC strongly suggesting that this was directly influenced by the postponing of in-person learning in favor of remote learning at home, reducing students’ physical activity across the country.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adolescents spent more time than usual away from structured school settings,” the CDC said in its statement on the findings, “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.”