The consequences of the March 2020 lockdowns are still reverberating. A recent study conducted in Val-de-Marne, revealed that obesity among 4-year-olds has nearly doubled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to specialists, this can be explained by a sedentary lifestyle and a deterioration in the diet caused by puerperal processes.
COVID-19, obesity and youth
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic led to widespread isolation in March 2020. This included restricting picnics and closing nurseries and schools. The consequences of incarceration are a concern that drives research on this topic. In the fall of 2021, the first study by US health authorities looked at the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis on obesity in young adults. Based on an analysis of data from more than 400,000 young adults between the ages of 2 and 19, researchers show that weight gain has been, on average, twice as fast since the beginning of the epidemic.
Recently, in France, a study by health authorities focused on evaluating this effect on very young children. The aim was to monitor the development of children’s post-weight status after more than three school years (2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021). Thus, it was possible to determine Impact of the health crisis linked to Covid-19 On the development of obesity or overweight.
The study was based on data collected by the Mother and Child Protection Service in Val-de-Marne. This entity regulates Nursery School Medical Examinations (BSEM) for children aged 4 on average. The researchers thus analyzed data on weight, height, gender, and age. They also used data on whether or not the school was in a priority area, and attendance at the canteen or nursery school. A total of 48,119 children were included in the study, with a mean age of 4.54 years.
The proportion of obese children has nearly doubled
The results show that The proportion of children who are overweight is much higher in 2020-2021 compared to the previous two years. Indeed, it increased from 8.9% to 11.2%. Moreover, the The proportion of obese children has practically doubled after the health crisisFrom 2.8% to 4.6%.
The study also reveals that girls have a greater risk of being overweight than boys. She notes that children attending school in a priority education district are at greater risk of obesity after the Covid-19 health crisis.
In addition, frequenting a canteen or day care center would protect against the risks of obesity after the closure. The researchers hypothesize that harmful eating habits ingested during confinement periods were reabsorbed when the canteen resumed. This can be explained by the presence of balanced meals in the canteen, accompanied by physical activity during the lunch break.
Reasons to be identified
Thus, the results reported by this study show an increase in obesity and overweight after the Covid-19 health crisis. The reason for this phenomenon may be the restriction of travel, the closure of nurseries and nurseries, and the eating of meals at home only. This is the assumption of the researchers who conducted the study. for them, Containment measures have led to an increase in sedentary lifestyles and deteriorating diets. However, it is difficult to say whether this is the deterioration of the power supply, via Snacking, consumption of ultra-processed products, or lack of physical activity is the cause of weight gain. Additional analyzes will be necessary.
In light of these findings, experts recommend increased vigilance and preventive measures in schools in priority areas. Girls should also have special supervision. Finally, they stress the importance of careful and regular child tracking and monitoring from an early age.
Alexia F. Doctor of Neuroscience