Who gained the fastest weight during the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic? Kids.
In a study of 432,302 Americans aged 2-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that “during the Covid-1 pandemic epidemic, BMI rates increased sharply … and younger school-age children grew the most.”
Prior to the epidemic, 19.3 percent of children were considered obese. That number has now risen to 22.4 percent – which may not seem like a very dramatic increase, but keep in mind that childhood obesity can have all sorts of lifelong effects, from diabetes to heart disease to depression.
Why were the kids packing in pounds during Covid-1 during? The CDC suggests a number of possible factors, including “increased stress, irregular meals, reduced access to nutritious food, increased screen time, and less opportunity for physical activity (e.g., not recreational sports).” I also came up with those ideas from the top of my head.
But the other researchers I spoke to had some different theories. Considered the “father of the modern playground,” Jay Beckwith said overwhelmed parents could turn families into “more comfortable and convenient meals.”
International playwright Susan Axelson agrees that it’s possible that eating at home is not only more convenient, it’s also cheaper thanks to stra strained money – and so probably lighter on the quino / kale portion.
But Professor Peter Gray, a researcher in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Boston College, said it’s just because kids are at home and so can be around food all the time. “You can eat while you’re at home doing almost anything,” he says.
Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly before Kovid-1. It wasn’t just a lack of exercise, although a study by Johns Hopkins in 2011 found that 19-year-olds now sit just like 0-year-olds. It was also that day, the kids were out and playing so much that many times they weren’t near the food source.
Gradually, childhood went inside, panic of unfamiliar dangers, increased workload at home and thanks to the universality of electronic devices, more kids ended up temptingly near the kitchen. Even organized sports often have a snack, and children who are directed toward those activities can eat in the car. School is almost the only time when they are away from food for a few hours. And of course, the epidemic has made school virtual for many children for more than a year.
While the CDC cites loss of physical activity as an explanation for the rate of increased obesity, it simply refers to “not recreational sports,” meaning that our health carers are not considering free play as an important part of children’s lives. This has completely turned off their radar.
It’s unlikely that the kids will start to shrink again until we normalize the idea of kids running for hours outside of themselves, away from the SUV’s cupholder, away from football practice snacks and siren hum steps in the fridge. It will take longer than the end of the epidemic to complete.