Originally posted on Dayton Daily News, February 17, 2021.
Nearly 1 in 7 children between the ages of 10 and 17 in Ohio are considered obese and health experts are concerned the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is only making matters worse.
Activities have been limited and even stopped completely by some pandemic protocols that have kept most people indoors and limiting their options for physical activity, including children.
“They’re all on a computer doing the schoolwork or playing games so they’re more sedentary, and all of that is just going to increase the weight for children,” said Marquetta Colbert, nurse practitioner and owner of Colbert Family Health and Wellness in Trotwood.
Obesity at any age puts people at risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma, which are all underlying health issues that make contracting COVID-19 easier and beating it that much harder.
Colbert said although the death rate is lower for children COVID-19, weight has played a factor in children that have died due to the virus.
Child obesity is described as children and adolescents who are over the standard weight for their height and age range. In Ohio, 15.7% of children between the ages of 10 and 17 were considered obese, according to a 2018-2019 study by the National Survey of Children’s Health.
“Childhood obesity remains an epidemic in this country,” said Jamie Bussel of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds the National Survey of Children’s Health.
Ohio did see a slight decrease in the percentage of obese children from 17.1% between 2016-2017 and the 15.7% in 2018-2019, but the pandemic may have reversed the state’s progress.
“During the time of the pandemic, I think it made it worse and I think it increased the numbers of obesity. I think when the pandemic is over, we will have to work harder to get back to what little bit of gains that we did have,” Colbert said.
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