Study shows rise in childhood obesity since start of pandemic

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, childhood obesity numbers have gone up during the pandemic.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, childhood obesity has gone up during the pandemic.

Dr. Yameika Head, a general pediatrician with Atrium Health Navicent, says they’ve noticed kids gaining weight since the start of the pandemic. Normally, they would tell kids to decrease screen time and increase activity, but the nature of at home learning doesn’t necessarily allow for that.

“Usually when you’re at school you’re more active, walking down the halls, and also you have school lunch which is a prepared portion of lunch that you have,” Dr. Head said. “And so at home you don’t have that restriction.”

Registered dietitian with Piedmont Macon Sharon Driedger says parents should model healthy eating for their children. She says you should include your children in the cooking process to make healthy eating fun.

“Learning how to have a healthy plate, a balanced plate,” she said. “Trying new vegetables, fruits. How you can cook with them. Learning how to cook those things can help children learn about food and be able to create a healthy relationship with food.”

Dr. Head says those who are obese are three times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid and 1.5 times more likely to have a severe case. She says being overweight decreases your lung capacity, which could mean trouble if a child gets Covid.

Dr. Head says parents should find ways to work healthy eating and movement into their child’s daily routines.

“We got to do what we have to do to make sure the kids are being healthier, somehow getting out, doing something,” she said. “We have to make that push for obesity prevention. We have to.”

Dr. Head says parents and kids who are eligible should get the vaccine.

Anyone over the age of 12 is eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. You can find a vaccine location right now at

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