A new study has revealed that children gained excess weight during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially those between 5 to 11 years old.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), indicated that during the Covid-19 pandemic there was an increase in body weight and the prevalence of obesity, particularly for children 5 to 11 years old.
"When we compared the weight gain among children from 2019 to 2020, we found that there was more weight gained during the pandemic for youths of all ages," said researcher Corinna Koebnick from the Kaiser Permanente in the US.
To determine if children picked up extra weight during the pandemic, researchers analysed the electronic health records of 1,91,509 children, who were age 5 to 17 from March 1, 2019, to January 31, 2021.
The researchers said that children between 5 to 11 years gained 5.07 pounds more during Covid-19 than during the same time period before Covid-19, while 12 to 15 years olds and 16 to 17 years olds gained an excess of 5.1 pounds and 2.26 pounds over the prior year, respectively.
Among 5-to-11-year-olds, the weight gain resulted in almost 9 per cent more children becoming overweight or obese compared to 5 per cent in youth ages 12 to 15 years and 3 per cent in youth ages 16 to 17 years.
Most of the increase among 5-11 and 12-15 years old groups was due to an increase in obesity.
"We need to immediately begin to invest in monitoring the worsening obesity epidemic and develop diet and activity interventions to help children achieve and maintain a healthy weight," Koebnick said.