The lockdown imposed due to Coronavirus scare had a major impact on our set routine life, and blighted it to a large extent. With our lives confined to our homes, eating, sleeping and working patterns changed and lethargy seeped in. With nothing much to do inside home, people, children especially, directed their attention towards food, television and other indoor entertainment activities. One worrisome effect that has caught the attention of health experts is seen in obese children, most of whom started eating more than usual.
A research from University at Buffalo found out that overweight children ate extra meal per day during the lockdown period. The team of researchers observed 41 overweight children under confinement throughout March and April in Verona, Italy. They tried to examine how lockdown due to COVID 19 brought changes in diet, sleep and physical activity of children.
Myles Faith, PhD, UB childhood obesity expert and co-author on the study said, “The tragic COVID-19 pandemic has collateral effects extending beyond direct viral infection. Children and teens struggling with obesity are placed in an unfortunate position of isolation that appears to create an unfavourable environment for maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviours.”
The study disclosed that the children ate an additional meal per day, and increased their intake of unhealthy foods like starchy potatoes, red meat, sugary drinks and junk foods. However, amount of vegetables consumed remained unchanged.
Examining the lockdown effects on their overall health, the study observed that children slept an extra half hour per day; added nearly five hours per day in front of phone, computer and television screens; and physical activity decreased by more than two hours per week.
The results were published in the medical journal ‘Obesity’.
Depending on the duration of the lockdown, the excess weight gained may not be easily reversible and might contribute to obesity during adulthood if healthier behaviours are not re-established,” warned Faith.