Childhood obesity exacerbated by COVID-19: some children are more vulnerable than others

As a covid addition. A study by France’s public health authority revealed overweight and obesity in children, which compared health checks on four-year-olds in Val-de-Marne, before and after the pandemic. Between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, the proportion of children who were overweight increased from 8.9% to 11.2%, and it almost doubled for those who were obese (2.8% to 4.6%).

Inequality between departments

In fact, all departments are involved but in an unequal way. “The numbers for DOM-TOMs are catastrophic. The food comes from America, and it’s high in sugar, so it’s complicated from the start. Northern France and Seine-Saint-Denis, the same, it’s explosive. If you superimpose fragility, unemployment, and obesity on top of it, you’ll see that Everything fits together,” decoded Anne-Sophie Jolly, president of the National Association of Obesity Societies (CNAO).

Outings less afraid of covid

The sedentary lifestyle has taken root in the homes on confinement. Although they could be out for an hour a day, “the prevailing fear often led parents not to give their children this time, for fear that they would catch Covid-19. When the outing was undertaken, psychological freedom was not systematically allowed,” explains Public Health France.

“Some kids gained 5 or 6 kg” during the first seizure, warns Dr. Cochert, an Orleans pediatrician (January 2021)

During the long days spent at home, it was also hard to resist the temptation to snack. “There is a way to get on your nerves about food,” analyzes Anne-Sophie Jolly who has noticed an increase in eating disorders (TCA) such as anorexia or bulimia.

Girls are more at risk

Girls are especially vulnerable to this. Blame “society pressure” on physical appearance, according to the CNAO chief, patient, professor and former health journalist. There is a story of hormones but not only. They tell themselves they have to be like girlfriend, like in a magazine and get into a weight loss plan, but that’s how the TCAs begin. The body will want to regain the pounds lost as well as gain the reward of staying alive,” she develops. Public Health France confirms an increase in BMI during a crisis that is more pronounced in girls, even if it is around the age of four, it remains difficult to explain .

Establishment of a day hospital to support children with childhood obesity in Thiers (October 2020)

Children registered in the canteen more “protected”

On the contrary, those who eat lunch in the canteen will be more “protected”. The study assumes that bad habits are corrected thanks to the combination of “balanced meals and physical activity in the meridian break”. Anne-Sophie Jolie admits that the school “plays a decisive role”, but according to her the available means are not enough.

“We have to work on several levels. In the canteen, take care of the food and how it is cooked. 30 minutes of physical activity is good but it is only the beginning. It is necessary to prepare the yards.”

Anne Sophie Jolie (Chairman of the National Association of Obesity Societies (Cnao) and patient)

The former health journalist denounces the disappearance of school doctors. There is another issue, perhaps the most important to her: You have to learn to accept physical differences.

Five Affirmations About Physical Activity and Our Health being tested (March 2021)

The pandemic will at least have made it possible to give more insight into the obese, the most vulnerable to Covid, many of whom are in intensive care. “It was a revelation of what we were going through. A lot of the population was in denial about obesity. For her, it’s enough to stop eating, it’s a problem of will. I can assure you that’s not really the case.”

Lisa Edwards

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