(WTRF)- Childhood obesity has been plaguing the country for quite some time, and because of the pandemic, things may have gotten worse, especially for certain ethnic and socioeconomic populations. 7News spoke to one local expert on the outlook.
A staggering 20% of all kids in the United States are obese, 30-40% of adults are too- and West Virginia ranks among the worst. Since the pandemic hit, kids have increased their rate of weight gain over the last 6 months.
Amanda Wade, a Pediatric Physician Assistant at WVU Reynolds Memorial Hospital, told 7News “some kids have gained as much as 20 pounds in 3-4 month periods I feel like it’s a lot of bored eating they’re not doing things they’re not going out with their friends they’re not in school over the summer a lot of our parks and playgrounds were even closed so even just regular daily activity was really limited, you know I joke there’s a loop from couch to fridge to couch to fridge when you’re home and you might not necessarily feel hungry but we’re going to fill that time with something.”
Screen time is inevitable. But now with school moving to that space, what can be done to fight this? Education comes first; on healthy food choices and low-calorie snacks. Praise kids for the right decisions. And lead by example, and also try not to eat in front of the screen- it makes you overeat!
Wade added “parents are huge in terms of treating their kids who tend to be obese or are gaining quicker we’re their role models we’re the ones they look to and want to imitate so it really has to start with us and what we bring in the home for them a child is not going to say ‘oh no thank you’ to Oreos and pop and cookies and cake… nor would I.”
Active play is vital. Kick those kids outside and make them run, jump, climb, and create an imaginary world… just like back in the good old days.
She said “just sitting and looking at a screen we found that posture is worse in these kids they’re having back and neck pain where before they didn’t so as much outdoor play we can do as possible is really important so I always tell people you have to match if it’s an hour of screen time you have to match it with an hour of active play.”