(TUSEN) – Researchers are finding yet another side effect of the pandemic: rising obesity rates in children.
A new study published in Pediatrics found an increase of about 2%.
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“You think two percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a lot,” said Dr Niraj Mehta of Helical Health. “It’s over a short period of time and in children. It will affect them for the rest of their lives. “
While obesity has been a serious problem in the United States for years, Mehta said the pandemic will make it even worse.
“There is so much, from diabetes and heart disease, from high blood pressure to the different types of cancer associated with obesity,” he told TUSEN 11 News.
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The new study found rising rates across all age groups, but those most affected were children between the ages of five and nine.
“A lot of times in the clinic we see kids putting on weight over the summer and then their routine comes back in September, and they can kind of stabilize a bit,” said Mikie Rangel, clinical dietitian at Children’s Health.
However, due to the extended time off, Rangel said it was more like the kids were on perpetual summer vacation. She said that the lack of structure and the lack of exercise are two big factors. For parents, she suggested rethinking meals and snacks.
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“When you offer a meal, when you offer a snack, make sure that there is at least one choice that you and your child are going to eat,” she says. “Make sure all the choices are healthy.”