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April 13, 2023
Doctors are concerned that the use of online-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in weight gained by children across the United States.
The shift from in-person to online learning during COVID-19 has created many significant issues, including an increase in overweight and obese children. Pediatricians are fearful that the increase in screen time and decrease in physical activity will have serious consequences for America’s youth. Hai Cao, a pediatrician and owner of South Slope Pediatrics in Brooklyn, N.Y., said “We’re seeing a lot of elementary school-aged kids who are gaining 20 to 30 pounds in a year” (Wall Street Journal).
This weight gain could worsen the already severe obesity epidemic in the United States.
The cancelling of sports and closing of schools have had a crucial part to play in the issue. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, kids attending in-person schools would get physical activity from walking to classes, participating in gym class, and playing school sports. Now that a large portion of children in the United States attend some form of online school, those opportunities have been diminished. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Bronx resident Sabrina Bryant said her 13-year-old son played basketball, football, and lacrosse before the pandemic.
This year, he has gained a few pounds because he is stuck at home all day, learning remotely and ordering fast food for meals while she is at work.” This is just one instance of something that’s happening throughout the country. The long-term effects of this extended period of remote learning have yet to fully be seen. However, there is much concern among the medical community that increased eating, decreased exercise, and too much screen time could lead to health issues like diabetes and asthma. According to the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, “The health effects of the obesogenic environment are exacerbated by COVID-19.”
ARTICLE: LAUREN GOLLOFON
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TIMES OF INDIA