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Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez and Dr. John Rausch, shared with CNN that pediatricians like them have seen it over and over again in the last few months — kids who have put on 5, sometimes 10, at times even 20 pounds — since the onset of the pandemic.
In a year filled with so much tragedy and suffering, it would be easy to dismiss a few extra pounds in a child or to think of weight gain as a problem to be solved once the pandemic recedes. But the weight gain we are seeing in kids is neither trivial nor can it wait.
The specifics leading to weight gain vary. Sometimes it’s Dad, who recently took over the cooking and may be overfeeding the kids; other times it’s Grandma, who has been spoiling them now that they’re home; for still others, favorite sports are no longer an option, or they’ve stopped going outside altogether.
Through the many stories they hear in their practices, one fact remains: The pandemic created the perfect conditions for kids to gain weight, and they have.
Deprived of nutrition and activity
What they are seeing in their offices — which serve mainly Black and Brown children — was predictable. As a result of what became an unnecessarily prolonged crisis, countless kids in this country have been deprived of the nutrition and opportunity for physical activity they previously received in school.
The loss of structured in-person learning has, in turn, disrupted other aspects of children’s lives — what was previously an 8 p.m. bedtime on a school night became 9 p.m. or later, until there was no bedtime. As parents juggled working from home while overseeing online learning, mealtimes changed, portion sizes became bigger, and snacks became more common.
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