Amarillo pediatricians see rise in childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) – According to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA, the pandemic has made child obesity worse.

Researchers found that a lack of movement and a lot more snacking during the pandemic, have not been good for the waistline of children.

“Were like shock actually,” said Maria Contreras, M.D. pediatric endocrinology at Texas Tech Physicians. “Because the rates of obesity were like, very high.”

The biggest change has been among children ages five to 12.

“Right now, we’re seeing very young kids like seven-year-olds with obesity,” said Contreras.

The alarming part is that even though these are kids, they’re being diagnosed with adult health problems.

“There has been a general increase of Type 2 diabetes in children,” said pediatrician, Dr. Rex Fletcher. “I know when I first started it was rarely seen, but it is a lot more common these days.”

“Eight, nine-and 10-year-olds who presented, you know, pre-diabetes,” said Contreras.

Type 2 diabetes means, the body doesn’t use insulin properly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity is a serious problem in the country and can worsen outcomes from COVID-19.

Although genetics is one of the pillars of obesity, doctors say a healthy diet and exercise can help.

The biggest challenge when battling obesity is making parents understand this is a family effort.

Pediatricians recommend parents to be participant and set small goals for the whole family like, reducing screen time and the consumption of juices and sodas.

“It s really a lifestyle change,” said Dr. Fletcher. “I worried a lot more about what will happen in their adult years if they maintain that obesity and the inactive lifestyle.”

Experts agree, this shows the importance of the school routine for children.

Copyright 2021 KFDA. All rights reserved.

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