The rate of increase in body mass index ( BMI ), which is the weight (kilogram) divided by the square of the height (meter), has increased since the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection began in the age group of 2 to 19 years old in the United States. Research results have been reported that it has nearly doubled. A team from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compared the changes in BMI from March to November last year for 432,302 children in the country compared to before the pandemic.
As a result, it was found that the rate of increase in BMI was higher than before the pandemic in all groups except underweight. In particular, the increase was conspicuous in the group of young preschoolers and school children and the group judged to be obese, and the rate of increase in the obese group was 5.3 times that before the pandemic. According to the team’s researchers, the closure of daycare centers and elementary schools may have reduced opportunities for healthy eating and group exercise.
Children determined to be moderate to severely obese gained an average of about 0.45-0.54 kg per month during the 8-month study period. In 6 months, the increase was about 2.8 to 3.5 kg, which is much higher than the 1.2 kg increase for normal body weight. Based on the results, the team points out the need for BMI mass testing and health promotion efforts by federal and state authorities.