Study: COVID-19 lockdowns worsen childhood obesity
Jun 04, 2020
New Delhi, Jun 05 (ANI): Lockdowns implemented across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively impacted diet, sleep and physical activity among children with obesity, according to new research. The study, published in April in Obesity, examined 41 overweight children under confinement throughout March and April in Verona, Italy. Compared to behaviours recorded a year prior, the children ate an additional meal per day; slept an extra half hour per day; added nearly five hours per day in front of phone, computer and television screens; and dramatically increased their consumption of red meat, sugary drinks and junk foods. Physical activity, on the other hand, decreased by more than two hours per week, and the amount of vegetables consumed remained unchanged. The study was led by Steven Heymsfield, MD, professor at the Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center; and Angelo Pietrobelli, MD, professor at the University of Verona in Italy. Children and adolescents typically gain more weight during summer vacation than during the school year, says Faith, which led the researchers to wonder if being homebound would have a similar effect on the kids' lifestyle behaviors. The results confirmed the negative change in behavior, indicating that children with obesity fare worse on weight control lifestyle programs while at home compared to when they are engaged in their school curriculum. Faith and colleagues are conducting an ongoing National Institutes of Health-funded study that is testing a family-based treatment for childhood obesity using telemedicine technology that allows participants to be treated in their homes.