Studies report COVID-19 may increase childhood obesity rates

Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 5:25 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kids are spending extra time at home since the pandemic. Experts say that means the threat of childhood obesity could be looming.

Disruptions in routine can have a major impact on everyone, including our children who are dependent on a routine. Doctors are worried children could add on unhealthy weight during this time at home because of a lack of activity and unhealthy food choices.

While mindless eating or rewarding good behavior with snacks may seem harmless, doctors say these unhealthy habits could lead to serious health concerns.

"It does predispose them to chronic illnesses including hypertension, as well as diabetes/prediabetes in some kids, as well as heart disease and high cholesterol," Dr. Raquel Hernandez from Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital said. "So some of the conditions that we probably are more familiar with in adults, we are actually seeing more in kids who develop obesity."

An easy motto doctors use to help parents establish a healthy routine is the 9-5-2-1-0: Nine hours of sleep, five servings of vegetables and fruits per day, two for the maximum hours of screen time a day, one hour of physical activity, and zero sugary beverages and tobacco products.

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