(CBSDFW.COM) – Researchers are finding yet another side effect of the pandemic: rising obesity rates in children.
A new study published in Pediatrics found about a 2% uptick.READ MORE: Denton Police Searching For Hit-And-Run Driver Who Struck Woman In Wheelchair
“You think two percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a lot,” said Dr. Niraj Mehta with Helical Health. “It’s over a short period of time and in children. It’s going to affect them for the rest of their lives.”
While obesity has been serious problem in the United States for years, Mehta said the pandemic is making it even worse.
“There are so many things from diabetes and heart disease, high blood pressure, to different types of cancer that are associated with obesity,” he told CBS 11 News.READ MORE: 66-Year-Old Runs Red Light In Arlington, Later Dies At The Hospital
The new study found rising rates across all age groups, but the most affected were kids between the ages of five and nine.
“Oftentimes in clinical we see kids gain weight over the summer, and then their routine comes back in September, and they can kind of level off a little bit,” said Mikie Rangel, a clinical dietician with Children’s Health.
However, because of the extended time off, Rangel said it’s more like kids have been on a perpetual summer break. She said lack of structure and lack of exercise are two big factors. For parents, she suggested rethinking meals and snacks.MORE NEWS: Fight In Dallas Between Two Men Escalates, Leaving 1 With Gunshot Wound
“When you’re offering a meal, when you’re offering a snack, make sure that there’s at least one choice that you and your child will eat,” she said. “Make sure all the choices are healthy.”