The rate at which children and adolescents in the U.S. gained weight nearly doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with younger school-aged children and those already experiencing obesity before the pandemic seeing the largest increases.
The study, which compared the body mass index of more than 400,000 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19, found that the share of obese children and teens increased from 19% pre-pandemic to 22% nationally.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adolescents spent more time than usual away from structured school settings, and families who were already disproportionally affected by obesity risk factors might have had additional disruptions in income, food, and other social determinants of health,” the report says. “As a result, children and adolescents might have experienced circumstances that accelerated weight gain.”
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