Child obesity rose significantly during pandemic, new study finds

The number of American children who are overweight increase by nearly 24% after the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

This figure came from a newly-released study from the University of Michigan and Kaiser Permanente Southern California showed. Overweight or obesity among 5–11-year-olds surged from 36.2% to 45.7% between the pre-pandemic period (March 2019-January 2020) and the post-pandemic period (March 2020-January 2021). The relative increase of 23.8% among that age group was the highest of those measured, with kids aged 12-15 experiencing a 13.4% increase in overweight or obesity and kids aged 16 and 17 experiencing an 8.3% increase.

The study examined data for children between the ages of 5-17 from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California electronic health record database, and was adjusted for sex, race, ethnicity, state-subsidized health insurance, neighborhood education, neighborhood income and number of parks in the census tract.

A majority of the increase in youths between 5-15 was driven by an increase in obesity, the researchers found. “These findings, if generalizable to the US suggest an increase in pediatric obesity due to the pandemic,” they wrote. Previous research has shown that the majority of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in countries with high rates of obesity. 



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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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