Key Research

Changes in Body Mass Index Among Children and Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Key Takeaways:

  • Pediatric obesity increased during the pandemic
  • The most problematic gain was between young people ages 5 – 11

LiveMore ScreenLess’ Summary:

To evaluate pandemic-related changes in weight in school-aged youths, body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) of youths aged 5 to 17 years during the pandemic in 2020 were compared with BMI in the same period before the pandemic in 2019.

Models were adjusted for sex, race and ethnicity, state-subsidized health insurance, neighborhood education, neighborhood income, and number of parks in the census tract.

Significant weight gain occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic among youths in KPSC, especially among the youngest children. These findings, if generalizable to the US, suggest an increase in pediatric obesity due to the pandemic.

Woolford SJ, Sidell M, Li X, et al. Changes in Body Mass Index Among Children and Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA. 2021;326(14):1434–1436. 

Topics: Body Image , Pandemic , Physical Health

Year: 2021